8 Ways Shopping Will Likely Change After Lockdown
When the doors to your favourite stores finally swing open, you might be in for a bit of a surprise.
What’s in store once lockdowns are lifted?
Have you been counting down the days until you can stroll into your favourite store and embark on a carefree—or, more likely, careful—shopping spree? While you’ve been sheltering in place, retailers have been reimagining the post-lockdown shopping experience, figuring how to make it both safe and enticing. Believe it or not, some of the changes were already in motion, like increased online ordering and store pick-up.
Of course, COVID-19 accelerated those changes, and they will likely be a lasting part of our new normal for the foreseeable future. So, how will stores try to make you feel more comfortable? You’ll definitely be seeing some protocols you expect—including markers for social distancing, masked (and healthy) employees, plenty of plexiglass and hand sanitizer, and fewer customers milling about—but there will also be some subtle changes.
Some stores might be closed—for good
Before you dash off to the mall to shop at your favourite department store, make sure that it’s actually still in operation. Many stores have filed for bankruptcy, and some retailers, whether in bankruptcy or not, are closing select locations to stay viable.
For example, Fort Worth, Texas-based retailer Pier 1 permanently closed all 540 of its stores in May, including locations in Canada. Greeting card retailer Carlton Cards, meanwhile, has also shuttered its doors, including 79 stores in Canada.
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Curbside pickup could be the new normal
While online shopping was the sole way to satisfy your shopping needs when you were sheltering in place, BOPIS (Buy Online Pick Up in Store) is part of many stores’ transition plans. In Ontario, for instance, all retail stores with a street entrance are allowed to be open to provide curbside pickup. Along with giant retailers like Canadian Tire and Walmart, specialty stores like Curry’s and Michaels are also providing the new service.
You might not be able to try on clothes before buying them
It won’t be one size fits all when it comes to how stores deal with opening or operating fitting rooms. Nordstrom, for example, will be opening a few of their dressing rooms (possibly two or three per store) and cleaning them between uses. But stores like Urban Outfitters and Gap will keep their dressing rooms closed until further notice.
Your clothes may be quarantined
In an effort to make shoppers feel more comfortable, many stores are closely managing the handling of products, like clothes that are touched by numerous people. This means that if you try on or return an article of clothing, it most likely won’t be heading back to the rack right away. For example, an employee at a Winnipeg Sport Chek told Global News that returned items are placed in storage for three days before heading back to store shelves.
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Social-distancing measures may extend to store bathrooms
While you may want to stay away from public restrooms right now, sometimes nature calls at the most inopportune moments. Stores are taking precautions, of course. In the United States, for example, Connecticut Post Mall and similar venues have installed plexiglass dividers in restrooms, while others like Simon Mall are taping off every other sink and urinal to ensure proper social distancing.
You might have to use your imagination to see how that lipstick looks on you
Even though you may be wearing a mask when you’re out and about, you may still want to buy a new lipstick for that Zoom interview or virtual date. But finding the perfect lip colour (and foundation and eye shadow) will take a little extra work. Sephora recently announced that its locations will no longer allow in-store makeup testing, while MAC Cosmetics is launching augmented reality tools to allow shoppers to virtually try products on its e-commerce site.
You’ll likely be greeted and counted
As stores begin reopening worldwide, they’re also introducing a variety of extensive changes. Case in point: Apple. In a statement about its new protocols, Apple notes that temperature checks will now take place at its doors, frequent deep cleanings will be mandatory, and staff and shoppers are required to wear face coverings. In addition, the company is also limiting the number of people allowed in stores.
You’ll probably need to adjust your expectations
While you will have greater access to shopping in public once lockdowns are lifted, it may be a while before you can have up-close and personal experiences like ear piercings, bra fittings, or alterations at. In fact, any up-close and personal experiences will be limited. As the Washington Post reports, clothing will be folded a certain way at American Eagle Outfitters “to encourage hands-off browsing.”
Think you’re experiencing symptoms? Here is a quick guide on how to get tested for coronavirus in your province or territory.