If we look at the retail present, the first thing that emerges is the certainty that the shops cannot pick up where they were interrupted before the crisis by Covid-19: the pandemic and the long quarantine changed the behaviour of the consumer, perhaps permanently, and the

The Covid-19 crisis has probably forever changed, in an overwhelming way, needs and priorities for the business world and, in general, the very mentality of people. It is the opinion of Alberto Corradini, Italy Business Unit Director of Checkpoint Systems, who notes how in recent years has been witnessed the transformation of the concept of physical shops, which from the single point of contact with consumers have seen progressively modify their

PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey highlighted, before the crisis by Covid-19, on the one hand as for millennials and Z generation stores were still an important reference for the acquired, on the other as most respondents

During the lockdown the ecommerce channel became the main means of purchase and continued to be so, since retailers around the world have focused on it their strategies to preserve consumer confidence.

The criteria for choosing the purchasing channels are the ones that have been changed forever.

Shops are no longer just a place to buy or pick up a product, but more and more a space where the consumer expects to experience a valuable and safe experience.

The logic with which the retailer must think, design and manage this space from now on is what is at stake, so that it can continue to play an important role, along with the other channels.

According to Corradini, the decline in consumer confidence caused by the pandemic has resulted in a total reduction in discretionary expenditure and, from a behavioural point of view, it is expected that change will become potentially more lasting with regard to accelerated adoption of the ecommerce.

If, as mentioned, the online purchasing channel already marked a pre-crisis increase, in fact, with the quarantine period significant peaks have been reported, even in previously uninterested categories.

By buying online during the lockdown period consumers discovered (this applies for example to older people and non-technological) and appreciated for the first time comfort and effectiveness in online purchases and the e-commerce continued to grow in a clear way (according to a

According to Corradini this trend will remain.

The whole fashion sector has undergone almost 12 weeks of setback, with a very significant impact on the management costs and structure, to which it had to cope in the absence of total turnover normally generated by the physical channel. This will have to be taken very carefully into account by companies.

According to Mc Kinsey’s findings in this regard, the growing trend towards online purchases, as well as shaping the new normal, will have important implications for the profit and loss account.

It is argued that increased competition and operational complexity due to break-up of the workforce could contribute to margin squeeze and to the migration of sales from shops to the e-commerce (usually lower margin channel for retailers) with a further negative impact on profitability.

It is clear that the key lies in the omnichannelity, and in the ability that retailers will demonstrate to have in putting in place accurate strategies of omnichannel integration in the store.

In the survey that Mc Kinsey conducted among US clothing executives, for example, it appears that 76% want to improve the integration of channels.

Checkpoint Systems shares the view highlighted by Mc Kinsey’s own article on the need to transform the concept of offering unique experiences to customers into a superior experience of product discovery and multi-ca service use

This also has important implications for the need to invest in the formation of an omnichannel, flexible and, in many cases, technological, and in a stable and performing IT infrastructure, which allows to manage continuous flows of users (customers)

In many cases this need for digital transformation will require a cultural revolution before technology (e.g. fashion footwear purchases), and will require a considerable effort, especially from the point of view of technical training of staff, who will often be invested in the role of consultant and trainer

Rfid at the center of transformation

Checkpoint believes that the factor in the Rfid is the enabling factor in the transformation of the sector, the mentality, the culture and the concept of omnichannelity itself.

Integration can only work if it is based on an efficient and 100% effective infrastructure to allow for accurate stock control, with absolute certainty, upstream of the supply chain and across the value chain.

Only based on an accurate inventory and therefore on a zero-margin error control of the stock thanks to the Rfid, supporting Checkpoint, the retailer can offer customers a very high level of service.

The technology that has now been consolidated has seen significantly lower costs, becoming more and more within the reach of any business dimension, has long seen its added value.

The benefits of this technology, not only the brands, are generalized and involve all levels of the chain, from logistics, to marketing, to sales (with an evident ROI finale).

It should be noted that choosing an RFID project for a company does not only mean installing a hardware infrastructure, but also adopting a state-of-the-art software system.

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