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‘Retailers Will Need To Offer A Superior Experience Post-COVID-19’

Shaun Bonett, the CEO of Precision Group, which has a portfolio of retail and hospitality properties has said that retailers will need to offer customers a “superior product discovery experience offering” instore in order to survive, given that online channels have taken off during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“In the new world, the quantity of retail stores are likely to decrease and their quality will need to improve. Retailers are not only preparing for short-term changes to ensure public safety, but long-term strategic decisions about their store networks,” Bonett told The Australian.

To entice customers to visit brick-and-mortar stores, Bonett has said that retailers could run products launches that offer “in store first” products or even have products that are exclusively sold instore only.

“There will always be a marriage between the physical and online worlds, but the physical will need to get a new vibe. This doesn’t mean expensive; it means awesome and iconic,” Bonett said.

With the country entering phase one of the government’s ‘3 Step Framework for a Covidsafe Australia’ a number of major retailers are re-opening their stores, but it is yet to be seen whether retailers and mall owners alike will be able to boost footfall.

Myer, which has witnessed massive growth on its online channels whilst its physical stores have been shut, has begun to reopen selected stores on a trial basis from today.

Myer, which has witnessed massive growth on its online channels whilst its physical stores have been shut, has begun to reopen selected stores on a trial basis from today. Apple has also opened all of its Apple Stores in Australia.

Foot traffic at Precision Group’s shopping centres have been down 35% over the last two months, and 45% of its stores are currently open.

“Both retailers and landlords need to understand what people want and how they live. The spaces have to become social, connecting us as well as delivering surprising innovative retail and leisure,” Bonett said. “There needs to be elements of intrigue, fun and excitement in an online environment alone.”

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