Preparing for the Roaring 20s: Reimagining Physical Stores in a Post-Covid World

Marie Merien
Written by Marie Merien
future of retail technology

With the Roaring 20s on their way, the retail industry is presented with an enormous opportunity to start over with a fresh, bold, innovative approach — to shed the past waste and inefficiencies and instead embrace new models that tightly align the needs of brands’ customers and talent.


Find out 4 ways to reimagine your physical stores in the post-COVID world with insights from Janet Gray, Division VP at Office Depot; Danielle DiMaiolo Rendini, Head of Retail at American Girl; Jordan Ekers, COO of Nudge; and Ben Zenou, CEO of SimpliField.


Also watch the full 30-minute webinar replay here !


Table of Contents

  1. Embrace operational flexibility to adapt and conquer
  2. Create real human interactions to meet customer expectations
  3. Establish communication and employee feedback loops
  4. Put the physical store at the heart of your omnichannel strategy


Embrace Operational Flexibility to Adapt and Conquer

retail omnichannel covid


“Our curbside service became critical, like 90% of our business at the very beginning of the pandemic. So, you know, really looking to see how a service change could become a critical aspect of your business was probably the biggest eye opening aspect that we saw during the pandemic.” - Janet Gray, Division VP at Office Depot


This whole new layer of protocol that our stores had to manage in terms of reopening and keeping our guests and employees safe became a whole new piece of the business for teams to manage daily, which was definitely extra workload. Prior to the pandemic we did not offer services like curbside pickup or in-store pickup. So we quickly came up with very scrappy ways not very enabled by technology whatsoever, in order to offer curbside pickup.” - Danielle DiMaiolo Rendini, Head of Retail at American Girl


Create Real Human Interactions to Meet Customer Expectations

customers interacting in store

“One of the themes that I've been taking out to the market recently is the rehumanization of retail. Obviously, retail is a very human-driven industry. But it's fascinating how software has played such a key role to help brands continue to connect with their people as well as customers to drive that brand loyalty over time.” - Jordan Ekers, COO of Nudge


“It’s really about how we make sure that we can maintain the same level of service with reduced staff, and that we have products ready in stores. We've also found that if a customer is in the store, they're there to buy, they're there to talk to an associate for help, engagement and product knowledge. If they can’t purchase what they are here for, then they’ll be at home on their laptop, getting it the next day from Amazon. Engagement is even more important now than ever, so our associates must be as knowledgeable about products as possible.” - Janet Gray, Division VP at Office Depot


“Research has shown that the Net Promoter Score of a customer is 43 points higher when they interact with a knowledgeable associate, which obviously drives a higher likelihood to purchase in store.” - Jordan Ekers, COO of Nudge


“Ultimately, what we're seeing is that people really want to have an experience, a physical tactile experience, which makes sense for us as a brand. And for us as a retailer, we are really rooted in experiential retail.- Danielle DiMaiolo Rendini, Head of Retail at American Girl


Establish communication and employee feedback loops

retail mobile communications

“All the brands and retailers we support first asked: how do I keep the relationship with my employee and how do I make them safe? Employees need support because there's a lot of stress, there’s a lot of churning and rotation. We’ve provided new processes and training for field teams and managers to be able to deploy those operations across the globe super fast and communicate back figures to be sure that everyone understands them and engages with the plan.” - Ben Zenou, CEO of SimpliField


“Since COVID-19, brands really prioritized capturing the hearts and minds of their frontline associates and taking care of them emotionally. This is incredibly powerful and even translates into better brand advocacy when they're interacting with customers in stores. Even better if you can provide them with the tools they need to reach objectives, as they will go above and beyond for your customers every day.” - Jordan Ekers, COO of Nudge


The investment we're seeing across the board in retail technology is no longer customer-facing but in retail performance technologies that make people better, more efficient and satisfy customers in the best way possible.” - Ben Zenou, CEO of SimpliField


Put the physical store at the heart of your omnichannel strategy

customer shopping in-store covid

“The biggest thing that we're focusing on is making it as simple as possible for the customer to shop and have the experience that they want to have. Do they want to be in the store? Do they want things ready to pick up or do they want to come inside the store and pick it up? Now, they've got all these different options.” - Janet Gray, Division VP at Office Depot


“Our stores are one of the best marketing vehicles that we have for creating immersive experiences where you can really learn about our brand and products. We continue to lean into physical retail, especially as we are in the process of renovating our stores. We also focus on merchandising to create inspirational spaces and invest in our store associates as a key point of differentiation for their product knowledge - especially when empowered with the right technology in their hands.” - Danielle DiMaiolo Rendini, Head of Retail at American Girl


Find out more about the future of retail in the full 30-minute webinar replay here, and find out 4 ways to prepare your stores for the holiday season in our latest report.


If you also want support in preparing your stores for the Roaring 20s, contact us for a live demo here.


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