All factors mentioned in this article are my own opinions on retail shop trends entering 2021 due to the covid-19 pandemic and its impact on humanity which is exacerbated by physical contact, surface contact and public gatherings.
A WASHING STAND
In relation to the campaign of washing hands before entering public places, all retail shops should provide a permanent washing stand for customers to wash their hands before entering their shops. Washing of hands should be imbibed in our everyday retail transactions. Apart from reducing the contact with the covid-19 virus, it prevents the contamination of shop items with germs and other contaminants. The washing stand should include running water, soap, tissue and hand sanitizers. The health of your customers are very important to the growth of your business.
RETAIL COUNTER AND CUSTOMER DISTANCE
Social distancing is now a requirement which must be adhered to while in public. The retail counter which serves as the last point between the customer and the retailer should also adhere to social distancing protocols. During the period of covid-19, lots of retail shops created some distances between the counter and the customer which helped in the cutting down of physical and surface contacts. In the new year, social distancing would be a trend in retail shops. Lots of shops are going to practice social distancing by creating a boundary with ropes or bars between their customers in queues. Also distances between the retail counter and customers will be created and enforced, along with any means possible to ensure that a lot of physical contact is avoided.
According to the World Health Organization, Covid-19 can spread through surface contacts contaminated with the virus (https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/question-and-answers-hub/q-a-detail/coronavirus-disease-covid-19-how-is-it-transmitted). Physical cash is one way to contract the virus because of the exchange of cash during retail transactions. At the time when covid-19 cases were rising, lots of customers paid for their goods using cashless systems like mobile money, paypal and card transfers. It made retailing simple and easier and protected both the retailer and the customer from contracting the virus. Globally the figures still keep on rising with reports of second waves or rebounds, and mutated viruses. The cases are not falling on the average. Only a few countries are recording fewer new cases and they are just a few. Most customers are still using cashless systems for their transactions. From 2021 and beyond, cashless systems are going to be the new trend especially in Africa.
Before the emergence of the covid-19 pandemic, online shopping was already in the retailing world but its growth during this period has become massive and it seems even the local food vendors on my street have migrated online.(https://www.rangeme.com/blog/e-commerce-explosion-revamps-retail/). The mandatory lockdown was a big influence to the migration of most physical shops to online shops. People locked up at home could only purchase items online, pay online and receive them through delivery. The fear and panic prevented customers from walking into shops to purchase their items. They realized it was safer and convenient to shop online and that practise is still ongoing even after the lockdown has eased down in most countries.
I am sure you might have noticed some of the above trends. I think it’s a good trend for the growth of the retailing industry.