What is the ‘new normal’ for food and grocery retail?

Last week, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab stated that the UK must find a ‘new normal’ to ease lockdown. Ultimately meaning that social distancing will remain for some time following on from any loosening of the current restrictions.

We’re all aware how much the world has changed within the last few months but what is this ‘new normal’? Does it mean that the world of grocery retail, and specifically convenience retail, has changed for good?

The phrase used by Mr Raab struck a particular chord with me, as at KAM Media we published an insight white paper a few weeks ago with the very same title; The New Normal: The Post Corona Consumer. It’s an exceptional time for us all and one which we are still getting used to. 

The Covid-19 pandemic is not just impacting our health, it’s impacting the very fabric of our existence.

From how we shop, how we work, how we socialise and how we interact with other people, things are likely to change. KAM’s report highlights six trends which will impact the consumer when lockdown ends. One of them is the increase in collaboration and connections between businesses, competitors and consumers. It’s a unique situation in which a virus that has forced us to stay apart can, in some ways, bring us closer together.

We are seeing amazing examples of this. Local retailers are working together with local charities to ensure the more vulnerable members of their communities are looked after. Larger companies, such as Bidfood and Brakes, are working together, sharing information and processes, in order to get the necessary foods to their customers and local communities. 

The ethics and ethos of a company have been a mega-trend for some years already. Consumers are looking to connect with the brands and operators they buy from on more than just a straight-forward transactional level.

Just as with our friends, we want to associate with people, businesses and experiences that share the same values across all aspects of our lives. This really could be one of the most impactful trends to come out of this crisis.

With the greatest challenges come the greatest opportunities.

What moves can you make now to serve your customers, your employees, and your partners better for the longer term? Which growth avenues could you pursue? What new partnerships could you develop now that were more difficult before?

Businesses and brands, just like people, will be remembered long after this crisis is over by their words and their actions now. The key is to not think of these changes as temporary but as an evolutionary change towards a new normal. What was an exception will soon become an expectation.

Long term loyalty is a journey that you need to take with your customers together.

If you’d like to receive a free copy of our insight white paper; The New Normal: The Post Corona Consumer, click here.

Stay safe.

This blog post was recently featured in Scottish Local Retailer’s new weekly digital publication ‘This Week in Retail‘.