To misquote the American author Mark Twain, reports of the death of retail have been greatly exaggerated. We know many members are going through their toughest times ever, and sadly we know some retailers will be forced to exit the industry before the impact of COVID has passed. But I’m sure you – like me – grow tired of the regular media articles about traditional retailers “staring down the barrel”, or – worse – predicting that there is no future for traditional in-store retail.
The simple fact is that all businesses change and evolve over time. Sometimes that evolution is driven by competition and innovation; sometimes it’s driven by external forces. And sometimes evolution can feel more like revolution. So of course retail will be changed by COVID, as will almost every business sector. What won’t change is that the fundamentals of our sector – customer service, quality products, competitive pricing and an overall great experience will be the foundation for success in the future.
Yes, there has been a move to online shopping in some areas, and some of that business may not return to bricks and mortar stores. But our industry has adapted and reinvented itself over centuries, and we will do it again this time. One of the positives that has come out of recent government decision making has been a very pro-business sentiment in the public and the media. There is a growing realisation of just how important retail businesses are to employment and economic activity. As the debate in Victoria has shown in recent days, people are arguing strongly for retailers to be allowed to do our job, and to create jobs for others. Hopefully this attitude will persist even once things have returned to normal.
As we are seeing stores move towards reopening in Victoria, keep an eye on the NRA’s website for resources and support material, including details of the various stages and the COVID Safe requirements. Visit https://www.nra.net.au/resources. And check here for information on how to access financial support for your business in Victoria.
If you are based in Queensland, you can access free training on infection control, to ensure your approach throughout your workplace is consistent and you are keeping your customers and your team safe. This training is being delivered by the NRA and funded by the Queensland Government, so there is no charge for Queensland residents in customer-facing employment to participate. It’s a three-hour online course, but places are limited so call us on 1800 RETAIL (738 245) to discuss or click here to register.
Learn more about Infection Control Training