The Nordic Countries Are Lifting Their Restrictions
On January 24th, the World Health Organization’s regional director of Europe Dr. Hans Kluge said that the pandemic is ‘moving towards its endgame’, because of us entering into a new phase of the virus. Following WHO’s statement, several countries in Europe have decided to lift their restrictions, with Denmark being the first country in the EU to completely lift all COVID-19 restrictions from February 1st. The neighboring Nordic countries are following Denmark’s footsteps. Sweden is lifting the restrictions from this Wednesday, February 9, and Finland plans on lifting all COVID-19 restrictions from February 14. Norway, however, has decided to take a more cautious approach by gradually easing the measures that will be taken against the virus. The governments came to these conclusions based on the respective countries’ controlled hospitalisation rates and high vaccination rates.
©Anders Wiklund via Reuters
Spending Is Back
There is a clear pattern that whenever the restrictions are eased, the consumption increases. In October last year, the Swedish government announced that there will be eased restrictions in Sweden, which resulted in a 10% increase in the overall consumption compared to the same period in 2020, and a 7%increase compared to 2019. The nightclubs and bars that finally opened again after 1,5 years since the restrictions were imposed, increased their revenue by 50%. The consumption of consumer goods increased by 39% in 2021 compared to 2020, and 13% compared to 2019.
What Does This Mean For Retailers?
When COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, many people will be craving a reason to get out of the house and start interacting with others and gathering in crowds again. We will begin seeing that shoppers are returning to stores and to their pre-pandemic shopping patterns, but only this time, they will be spending more than previous years. That is why retailers should implement some strategies to prepare for it, but also to create a retail experience surrounding their store that goes beyond the inventory.
Increase In-store Capacities
One of the strategies is quite self-explanatory, which is to increase the in-store capacities. Knowing that the consumption of consumer goods will increase once the restrictions have been lifted, the retailers should definitely increase their in-store capacities so that they are prepared for the upturn of customers who will populate the streets and go shopping as a social activity again.
Create Special Events
Another strategy to consider is to create special events to give your consumers a social experience and more importantly, a retail experience to look forward to. Engaging them by creating reasons for them to shop in your store is exactly how retailers can take advantage of consumers’ increased need for consumption. Many businesses have developed ways to hold events virtually because of the pandemic, but just because the restrictions are lifted doesn’t mean that we should neglect those strategies. Giving your events an online and an offline component will give the best result.
Create the Future Retail Experience
It’s believed that most successful brands will implement more retail experiences surrounding their stores after the pandemic. Focusing on creating an experience beyond the inventory will create a deeper brand connection between the retailer and the customer, which is why the third strategy is to start investing in localized experiences. These include events, Pop Up stores, celebrity/influencer appearances, virtual reality and e-sports.
Now that the Nordics are lifting their COVID-19 restrictions, we can expect that the spending will increase as people will be eager to gather in groups and socialize again. Because of this, the retailers can expect an upturn of customers, which makes it relevant to use this opportunity to implement some strategies in pursuance of an increased brand connection with their customers.
Pop Ups are no doubt a great way for retailers to activate campaigns and special events, but also for the e-commerce brands to come offline and create the physical retail experience that its customers crave for now more than ever.
Contact us to make it happen!