Visiting stores here in Germany shows a similar picture at a lot of merchants these days. All departments are accessible again (with some restrictions), and the actions taken to protect customers and employees are changing from makeshift to (nearly) professional. The CV-19 pandemic is serving as a catalyst for the implementation of an overall store transformation in this area, while there is also one more thing that different merchants have in common: standard shelves seem to get more attention than brand-specific ones.
Now, it is a fair point to say that the neglect of branded areas, like endcaps and dedicated fixtures, is one logical aftereffect of the CV-19 lockdown at German merchants. The agencies supporting the major brands may not have sent their promotors back to stores for display maintenance. However, it could also be a sign of something more than that.
This deprioritizing of in-store retail investments can be considered a consequence of brands reprioritizing trade marketing budgets to increasingly favor online activities. Germany’s lockdown period in spring is driving this latest trend.
Hence the CV-19 pandemic could be seen as a catalyst for the implementation of a general store transformation that was already hinted at. New retail strategies require a much higher interaction of online and offline marketing activities. Along with that, faster and more dynamic changes to promotional offers require demand driven replenishment systems with a highly effective supply chain management. Therefore, the “static” retail shelves we are used to might be history soon.
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