U.K. Food Retailers Now Need To Slow Shoppers Down Or Lose Share

BROOKLYN NEW YORK – MARCH 28, 2020: A group of shoppers wearing surgical masks looks at prepared meals at a... [+] Trader Josephs in Brooklyn, New York, March 28, 2020. Due to the spread of coronavirus, the store can only accept a limited number of customers at a time. (Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images). Getty ImagesThe U.K. will soon experience a surge in shoppers returning to bricks and mortar stores after having felt unsafe in online shopping for 14 months. This first experience with online shopping will not be pleasant unless it changes. Online shopping is more convenient and easier than store shopping.If they want to retain 15% of their lockdown share, major multiple chain retailers must engage these shoppers. It's not easy to entertain shoppers while wearing masks. Masks can dull the sense of smell and cause blurred vision. So, it is up to touch, taste, and imagination to entertain shoppers. The retailers in Scotland have announced that masks will be allowed to remain in retail stores after any lockdown restrictions have been lifted.Retailers must change the behaviors that were established during the pandemic. After trying to speed up shoppers for months, retailers now have to slow them down. To encourage their imagination, they need to give them reading packs so that they can consider making new purchases. This is done with their glasses steaming.No retailer has attempted to be this "media shop", but I have seen cost-cutting, penny pinching and compromise buying decisions made based on suppliers who will support them with margin. Amazon AMZN, Aldi, and Lidl will steal share without any form of reinvention from mainstream multiples. It's as simple as taking candy from a baby.Lockdown has created a "ground zero" for businesses and supermarkets shouldn't try to rebuild what they have lost. They are not a discounter, unless they can prove that their products are affordable to a large population. You can see that discounters know what they are doing, as evidenced by the fact that Sainsburys and Tesco now promote Aldi in their price match initiative. Asda has seen this and is now facing the reality. Asda was under the tutelage of Walmart, WMT, pitifully trying for loyalty from shoppers who used to shop there for low prices, but now find a cheaper Aldi nearby. Asda's post-pandemic strategy is to reduce stock and rent space for concessions, and become a true discounter. Asda's new management has a unique grocery strategy. EG Group is being criticized for their 'precarious finance'. They are giants on gas forecourts and will have to wait for electric vehicles to take over. The time it takes to charge the batteries instead of filling up will keep shoppers captive in their new convenience channel.However, retailers must protect themselves against the potential losses from the reviving hospitality industry. Suppliers of spirits and beers claim that take-home sales have already fallen by 12% since April's reopening. The U.K. government's decision to delay the removal of any restrictions for another month has caused a setback in recovery efforts by pubs and restaurants. They are hit hard by the restrictions of not standing or approaching bars and sat in groups of six approximately, which combined can reduce a pub's average earnings. However, this delay is not a halt to retail execution. While many people are enjoying the freedom to eat and drink while they wait, it is important to remember that those calories will not be used for shopping. Over the next 12 month, it's going to be tough for supermarkets.