During the last 12 months, the retail industry in the UK has endured a monumental shift to the way it operates. As shopping moved predominantly online last year, bricks-and-mortar retail environments were left struggling. Many UK retailers have not weathered the storm, and some have unfortunately had to close permanently, affecting thousands of retail staff across the country.
Those that have survived are eagerly awaiting the date they can open their doors to customers again. The UK government’s roadmap out of lockdown has been welcomed by many retailers and many are already hard at work preparing their stores for customers and ensuring they are compliant with all the latest safety advice and regulations.
Clothing retailers, one of the biggest retail sectors to be affected by the move to digital shopping, are facing very specific safety concerns. Trying on clothes in store is one of the biggest drivers for customers to visit stores. Yet, with concerns about transmissible viruses, customers might be hesitant or prohibited to try on clothes any time soon.
We look at a few ways clothing retailers could minimize risk for their customers when they open their doors once more.
Augmented reality (AR) looks set to take over from tradition fitting rooms in a big way over the next few years. Although it might be a big initial investment, one that many retailers might not want to pay out for right now, AR could make the difference between surviving and failing over the next few years.
Giving customers the option to try on clothes without trying them on physically, AR offers the ultimate safety from virus transmission when trying on clothes. It could even be tied to your online shop, saving you space for stock and minimising interactions with customers at till points.
Personal protective equipment
Supplying basic levels of personal protective equipment (PPE) could help customers feel safer when trying on clothes. Disposable gloves are a great example, as they create an added layer of protection when handling clothes. Providing masks in the long term could also help customers to feel secure while shopping and appease government concerns moving forward.
Most stores will already be providing had sanitiser for customer use. Having extra sanitising stations at fitting rooms can help to ensure customers stay safe while trying on clothes. Antibacterial atomised sprays should also be used to disinfect fitting rooms after use to further reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses.
Stores could also invest in handheld ultraviolet (UV) lights to kill viruses on the surface of clothing before and after they have been tried on. Killing viruses before they can be transmitted could make all the difference in reinforcing the government’s ‘irreversible’ road out of lockdown – helping clothing retailers to stay open and aiding their recovery from what has been a devastating year.