The last two years have had a big toll on nearly every industry, especially the retail sector. However, there are now strong signs things are returning to normal, with customers buying more than they were before the pandemic.
Earlier last month, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released its Retail Sales for March 2022, which showed sales volumes had risen by 2.2 per cent from February 2020, prior to the UK national lockdown the following month.
There was particular success in shops not selling food products, with volumes in these retail premises rising by 1.3 per cent last month. Household goods shops such as DIY stores, especially, saw an increase in buyer activity, with volumes growing by 2.6 per cent in March 2022.
Consumers seem to be flocking back to the high street, keen to buy things in person these days. Indeed, the data has shown retail sales online dropped last month to 26 per cent, which is its lowest proportion since February two years ago when it was 22.7 per cent.
At its peak in February 2021, the proportion of retail sales on e-commerce sites reached 37.1 per cent, as shops were closed, and people were forced to purchase items online.
Businesses hoping to attract lots of customers through its doors might consider a hybrid approach, offering both physical stores and e-commerce options. By providing click-and-collect services, ordering specialised items to the retailer, and offering free delivery, consumers are more likely to support the brand.
Store managers should also ensure they keep up with essential retail maintenance and hygiene precautions, such as sterilising stations, self-checkouts and plastic barriers in front of tills, as this will reassure a lot of customers who are still being cautious.