The coronavirus lockdown has forced even the most smartphone illiterate customers to begin doing more of their shopping online. Shops that were already geared up for delivery and “click and collect” have performed really well, including stores like Screwfix, which I’ve visited many times during lockdown for DIY bits.
The ease and speed of shopping has seen shops like this succeed. You don’t have to worry about battling the traffic and paying for parking in a major town or city. Instead, you click choose what you want and – within minutes – someone at a hyper-local store has picked the product ready for you. It’s so simple and I’ve become extremely dependent on the ability to just grab something within 10 minutes.
As we now start entering a restart of the high street, a lot of stores and outlets that aren’t necessarily geared for “online” are suffering hard. Many clothes stores have been closed for months, and if they’ve got no online delivery they will now have a lot of out-dated stock to shift.
We’re already seeing some outlets closing up as a result. In Southend, in the iconic Kursaal, the Rendezvous has closed. The owners admit that “difficult trading conditions” have forced their hand. Put simply, even after the lockdown here in the UK eased, less people are going out. They’re now more familiar with online shopping and, in this case, online gaming and gambling. People can simply go to sites like betway88 to get that same experience. All it takes is a phone instead of a drive into town. Live dealers can talk to your through your smartphone as you enjoy roulette, blackjack and more.
No going out in the rain, no need to stress about how you’re going to get there or get home, sites like Betway88 are changing the behaviour of gamers.
Likewise, people are becoming more comfortable with buying online. They’re also buying bigger items – like cars – via their phone. This is ideal when you want a specific vehicle, but you’re not prepared to travel hundreds of miles to actually see the thing. Instead, a test drive of a similar model can be done locally and you can then hunt down the exact colour and spec online. Meanwhile, car dealers are more than happy to record videos and send them to you – so you can see exactly what you’ll be getting.
Indeed, some smaller retailers – those who don’t necessarily have the online store setup – have gone to additional lengths during the lockdown to ensure that sales still keep ticking through. Some video-call their customers, showing them clothes and other items on the phone so that they know what they’re getting.
Put simply, the lockdown has forced even the most “old school” customers to embrace a new way of doing things. For those stores and outlets that haven’t moved on, there’s some difficult times ahead.