cushman & wakefield report

As stores slowly open their doors and flick on the lights, Barrie Scardina, Cushman & Wakefield’s head of retail, created a concise, seven-page guide to help companies succeed.

Scardina, who formerly served as president of Calvin Klein North America, developed a “path to reengaging the consumer” that is based on three key strategies and eight “retail readiness essentials.”

The strategic pillars are to respond, reopen and reimagine. With response, Scardina suggests developing a “lease strategy by landlord” and surveying consumers to address any concerns. Other response measures include addressing concerns around inventory and sanitation, communicating plans and training employees.

With reopening, collaborating with landlords to control the environment is encouraged as well as clearly marking products, prices and promotions — and looking at deploying self-service tools.

In regard to the “reimagine” pillar, Scardina said this is a good time to leverage new approaches such as consumer-facing technology such as VR and AI to drive sales. “Think curbside,” Scardina said in the report, adding that companies need to also “bring the brand to the door” via deliveries.

With the retail readiness essentials, the Cushman & Wakefield report went deeper into specific tactics around inventory management, safety, training and support, technology strategies and communication.

“As retailers and landlords prepare to reengage the customer, communicating safety, building confidence and enticing the consumer are paramount steps,” authors of the report noted. “Retailers will need to control every aspect of the store environment and plan, in detail, the consumer experience and journey in the store. Brands and landlords will need to evaluate air quality, health and safety standards, touchless technology, and new inventory and logistics models. These new strategies will vary by location, generation, and over time as the environment changes.”

The company noted that preparing to reopen physical stores also “provides the retail industry with an opportunity to be transformational.”

“This is a time to test or expand new paths of purchase — including BOPIS, curbside pickup, and home delivery,” the company stated. “It is an opportunity to test new technology both to gather customer data and improve the in-store experience. Retailers will need to balance investments against other financial constraints and should look to drive efficiencies to invest in new strategies.”