Shopping in the New Normal

We are living in a new environment where most of our previous routines and habits have had to adjust significantly. The retail landscape and how we shop have changed extensively due to the pandemic, as highlighted recently by Forbes. We have spoken to business owners and industry experts and have rounded up the latest best practices, tips, and feedback about this new shopping experience.

From a Shoe Brand's Perspective:

Caroline Podgurski, owner of BirdRock Baby shares some staggering statistics proving out a trend that she and many others in footwear are seeing. "One of the major trends we've noticed is an increase in customers that want to size their shoes without having to go into a store. We have a baby shoe size guide on our website that normally gets a few visitors here and there; in May 2019 it received 145 pageviews. In May 2020, this page brought in an incredible 8,328 pageviews! This is a clear indicator to me that customers shopping for footwear are interested in spending as little time as possible in stores. Footwear retailers would be smart to help prospective customers find the right size shoes in advance, so they can smoothly offer curbside pickup and keep size related returns to a minimum."
From a Jewelry Designer's Perspective:
Dan Moran, engagement ring designer and founder of Concierge Diamonds in Los Angeles has many clients who are still working with him remotely for their wedding bands and engagement rings. 
“My company (Concierge Diamonds) has worked online with clients since it was founded in 2012. Before the Coronavirus pandemic, at least eighty percent of my clients already worked with me remotely,” says Moran. “For us to pivot to remote only consultations was an incredibly easy move for us to make, because we’d been doing it for so long." 

"My clients are still conducting Facetime and email consultations with me to create their wedding bands for their upcoming weddings and for their engagement rings," says Moran. "Though the weddings may be virtual, the rings are not, and I'm working with a lot of couples right now to create their wedding bands." 
He continues: "We're helping many clients right now who have found themselves in this situation and my team and I are working overtime to accommodate them. We've seen a surge in downloads on our free wedding band guide and clients are contacting us sooner than later to offset any potential production delays especially for those getting married late in the summer or in the fall." 
From an Athletic Footwear Retailer's Perspective:
Paul Ronto, CMO and Content Director at RunRepeat, the world's largest athletic footwear review site share some insight into trends he is seeing in the space.

As the largest shoe review site on the web, we have some insight into what
people are looking for:

1. The most important thing is still the service. Buying shoes is
difficult, especially online, or in a pandemic where it's hard to try
things on. Offering customers reviews and feedback on what they need is
crucial to help them find the right pair of shoes.
2. Giving them an online option if key as well. Most shoe stores pride
themselves in the in-person relationships they foster, but even local
stores can benefit from and online presence. Doing video chats with
customers who have questions, providing real-life feedback on models or
brands, and partnering with review sites like RR can all help drive more
traffic and sales to a store's eComm site.
From a Bridal Retailer's Perspective:
Nicola Buckle-Hurvitz, founder and owner of Bantam Bridal, a bridal couture concept service that has recently launched in Southern California shares her personal experience and path forward strategy.
"Our boutique opening was pushed back due to the pandemic but we are resolute that life will return to some form of normalcy, hopefully soon. We are moving forward with our business with some modifications.

We’re trying to find new ways to do more for our brides with less physical contact (LOL). This social distancing may become standard business procedure in the future. As we can not open our boutique for awhile we will be offering remote appointments with brides that require styling assistance."
As we continue to gather tips and best practices, we will be sure to share them. We will get through this and emerge even stronger! Stay safe and healthy!

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