How Retail Customers Are Responding to COVID-19

As the situation around COVID-19 rapidly evolves, retail property owners have been forced to make quick decisions, with limited data on the impact to their tenants and shoppers. To help retail property owners adjust to the changing needs of their customers and tenants during these challenging times, Skyfii and Brickfields Consulting have partnered on a survey measuring shopper confidence and behavior. 

The first-of-its kind survey gathers responses from over 800 Australian shoppers across major metropolitan areas, and provides key insights into how COVID-19 is impacting shopper behavior, visitation patterns, and future spending habits. By gathering high-quality data from actual shoppers, this survey aims to provide retail property owners with insights they can use to adjust their operations and communications strategies to support their customers and tenants.

Key Insights:

  1. The most negative aspect of visiting a shopping center was attributed to the numbers of other people (i.e. crowding). To counter negative perceptions of overcrowding, it’s recommended that retail venues cap or limit the total number of customers allowed inside at any one time. This would provide spacing between customers and a feeling of reassurance that risks are being minimized.
  2. Lack of availability of products and personnel was the second most significant detraction from visiting a retail center. This issue can be addressed through a range of automated and manual methods, whether through online inventory or more manual methods of customer enquiries about stock availability and replenish dates.
  3. Offering a home delivery service (either face to face at 1.5 meters or contactless) were the two most preferred methods when not visiting a shopping center. Landlords would be wise to establish an online portal and delivery services which combine the stock from all smaller retailers. There is a convenience benefit to combining one order across multiple retailers – not to mention the reduction in risk through unnecessary exposure.

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As the situation is evolving on a daily basis, Skyfii and Brickfields will be conducting monthly updates of the research to understand the latest perceptions and track the recovery. Subscribing to these monthly updates is the easiest way of keeping in control of the changing situation.

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