7 Things You Won't See at Retail Stores Ever Again After Coronavirus
Retail stores are already closing fitting rooms and reducing shopper capacity.
Life after lockdown won't look the same as it did before, as the coronavirus pandemic has already changed much about the way we live. For instance, six-foot distancing has become commonplace, and the use of face masks has been recommended and, in some places, mandated. As states start to reopen and lockdown orders are being lifted, these new norms and more are going to make their way into reopened public spaces. From the possible end of fitting rooms to reduced capacity, these are all the way your shopping experience may change once retail stores reopen. And for more on shopping safely, learn 7 Things You're Doing at Walmart That Put You at Risk of Coronavirus.
No more fitting rooms
Even stores that have remained open during the coronavirus, such as Target, have closed their fitting rooms to shoppers. And it's unlikely that they will reopen them any time soon. After all, it's too easy for respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, or even just talking to spread onto clothes while shoppers are trying them on. Shoppers have been able to purchase clothes without trying them on at stores that have remained open, and most stores will continue to implement this practice as they reopen. In fact, Belk and Kohl's have recently reported they are reopening stores in select states, but their fitting rooms will remain closed.
No more product testers
Long gone are the days you could walk into a beauty store and try on makeup products with free rein. The cleanliness of beauty and makeup testers had been called into question long before the coronavirus pandemic, and it's unlikely they'll make a comeback any time soon. Ulta Beauty recently announced they were reopening stores, but in an online letter, CEO Mary Dillon said that testers would be unavailable for use—despite being a large part of the beauty store experience. And for more major changes to prepare for, here are 9 Things You'll Never See in Public After the Coronavirus.
No more immediate entry
It's likely that the days of walking into a retail store whenever you wanted are over. In early April, Target started limiting the number of shoppers in their stores to help maintain social distancing. If the store is too packed, customers have to wait in a designated waiting area outside until they are allowed in. And while many stores are turning to reduced-capacity plans, some are doing away with walk-ins altogether. Best Buy announced at the end of April that the company was reopening stores, but only for customers to schedule in-store appointments first. And for places you should continue to avoid, check out these 7 Places You Shouldn't Visit Even If They're Open.
No more manual doors
Most public door handles and knobs are touched by countless people every day. As soon as an infected person touches that handle, it could infect hundreds of people after them—especially since many public door handles and pulls are made from stainless steel, which can hold the coronavirus for up to 72 hours, according to an April New England Journal of Medicine study. It's likely that stores that don't already have automatic doors will install them before reopening, doing away with the public's ability to use manual doors. And for more shopping changes, discover 7 Major Ways Walmart Won't Be the Same After Coronavirus.
No more unlimited stock
Items that have been returned or tried on—if fitting rooms do reopen—won't immediately go back on the store floor. With too much room for the virus to spread on touched merchandise, retailers will be pulling and exchanging stock constantly to sanitize it. So when you ask if they "have it in the back" now, they very well might—but it's being disinfected and can't be sold at that moment. In fact, The New York Times reported that Macy's was slowly reopening stores in select states, but any clothes tried on and rejected will be kept off the sales floor for 24 hours. All of that plus continued global supply shortages mean you shouldn't expect unlimited stock when stores reopen. Prepare for many of the things you're looking for to be sold out.
No more browsing
Some stores may opt to do away with browsing entirely and become pickup only. In fact, Euromonitor International, a strategic market research firm, already reported earlier this year that click-and-collect would become a growing trend in commerce for 2020. And a recent Adobe Analytics survey found that buy-online, pickup-in-store (BOPIS) orders surged 208 percent in April of this year. Kroger is one company that has already pivoted to this trend by transforming one of their stores in Cincinnati to a pickup-only store, Grocery Dive reported. And for more retail changes on the horizon, here are 9 Things You Won't See at the Apple Store Ever Again.
No more cash
It's likely that many retail stores will become cashless when they reopen, says Toopan Bagchi, senior advisor at The Navio Group, a retail consulting firm. Stores will most likely encourage wireless transactions, like Apple Pay or their own app. If not, they may only accept card usage. After all, cash is exchanged by many hands daily and can't be sanitized like a credit card can.