HomeHow The Pandemic Has Changed The Retail Market

How The Pandemic Has Changed The Retail Market

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It’s no secret that since lockdown forced our retail stores to temporarily close, online shopping figures hit an all-time high, with thousands of Brits ordering items to their homes on a weekly basis.

It is predicted that online shopping in the UK is expected to reach 86.2% in 2021, with clothing currently making up 64% of items purchased online.

In this article, we look at the positive impact that the pandemic has had on the retail market over the past year and explore the different ways in which eCommerce brands can retain new customers gained in this time.

Whilst online shopping was already popular before the pandemic hit, the closure of retail stores over lockdown has since caused it to boom. eCommerce sales accounted for 36% of the total retail sales in the UK in November 2020, with 87% of the people in the UK making online purchases. According to the official GOV website, “the proportion of online retail increased to a record level in January 2021 reaching 35.2% and was far higher than the 19.5% in January 2020, reflecting the impact the pandemic has had on consumer behaviours.” This confirms our suspicions that the pandemic has directly led to an increase in online shopping over the last year.

But the next big question is, how do retailers retain this new lease of customers?

One of the best ways that brands can encourage customer retention across their business, is through loyalty programmes. At present, 77% of the population are members of a loyalty programme, with established customers spending an impressive 33% more than new customers. But why is this? Studies show that the more brands reward customers for their ongoing support, the more valued they feel. This taps into the emotions of individual customers, encouraging them to continue shopping with the brand. By creating emotional connections through loyalty programmes, you’re automatically strengthening customer relationships more and more over time. Always consider ways in which you can use your rewards to gently push sales further. For example, alongside popular discount codes, you could also consider offering free shipping on orders over a certain amount at the checkout. This is a great yet subtle way to entice each customer to up their spending, without doing it in an overly salesy way. If you can encourage the majority of your customers to increase their sale to meet the free shipping figure, you could make an astonishing profit in the process, from one simple loyalty tactic. 

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