German Retail Copes Corona - Image, Payment, Food Service and Design
At least this has been an effect of this extraordinary situation in German retail: acknowledgement and appreciation for shop assistants, sales person or cashiers has increased and retailer have improved their image, according to a survey by POSpulse in cooperation with EHI among 1936 customers in May 2020.
The understanding, that theses „Every-Day-Heroes“ are literally guarantying the nation’s provision with daily goods, has led to a better recognition of retails’ employees. 40 % of the interviewee have an improved perception of them now in comparison to before the corona-crisis. It also shows that more people understand the high relevance of the retail industry for any society.
Another side-effect is that cashless payment has become a lot more popular. From a first glance the results of the annual EHI-survey an increasing share of payment with credit- or debit-cards in German grocery retail by more than 20 % can be predicted. Turnover with cards went up to 55 % in March 2020. During the same period in 2019 the share was only 45,2 %. This trend is being supported by retail’s requirements who prefer cashless payment in order to prevent employees as well as customers from infection.
After eight weeks of mandatory break, in the middle of May restaurants were allowed to open again in many parts of Germany. But everything is of course still far away from normal. Strict rules concerning hygiene and keeping a safe distance are to obey. Many retailers who run various kinds of food services must be inventive to fulfill the requirements. Because of the rules for a safe distance most of them have to reduce their numbers of tables and chairs. They also need to realize a clear signage for customers: signs on the ground help them to keep the required distance. Information boards explain the necessity of wearing masks. Also all tables and chairs need to be cleaned with disinfection after every customer.
The design departments of German retailers describe their situation as driving with the breaks on, long-term planning is impossible, explain 20 of the leading German retailers from EHI’s network. More or less sudden requirements concerning hygiene or safety rules had to be realized immediately during the last weeks. At first the retailers realized temporary – often self-made - solutions. But now, as it is clear, that most of those rules will accompany retail for a while, protection devices are mostly being planned by the design departments again and will get a more lasting and appealing look.
Because of the given circumstances many plans for opening new stores have been postponed or cancelled. Especially retailers who had to shut down their stores completely also tend to cut down on renovating- or rebuilding projects.
All officially recognized economic institutes in Germany predict that consumer attitudes concerning their consumption will change. Decreasing spending behaviour is expected. Almost every retailer – except grocery retail – agrees to that and consequently cuts down on expanses.
Ute Holtmann, EHI Retail Institute, Cologne, May 19th 2020