The corona epidemic is reinforcing the shift from stationary retail to online trading faster than predicted. Some retails reached revenues for online sales that were not expected for three to four years now, in some sectors within a few months. According to a survey by Criteo, 77 percent of customers were largely satisfied with online shopping options and intend to continue shopping at least one of the new shops.
In Germany, smaller retailers in particular experienced an increase in their online shops. The trend to support local providers who were only able to open up to a limited extent can also be observed in Great Britain. In addition, 20 percent of the British indicated that they would not return to the shops after the lockdown was lifted and would prefer the security and convenience of online shopping in the long term instead. Corona is thus accelerating a development that city centres in many countries are familiar with: Fewer people come to the shopping streets. According to the German Retail Association (HDE), the number of shops in the German retail sector fell by around 38,700 between 2010 and 2019. City centres and employees in the large stationary stores are facing many changes for which there are no proper concepts yet.
Ideas for the city centres
As the growth of online trade will continue, new ideas are needed to revitalise the retail space in city centres. One possibility would be to use the shops more as showrooms and as a place to pick up items ordered online. Shifting sales even more to online shops and creating experience areas instead is another option. If rents are falling due to vacancies, especially in structurally weaker regions, there are, for example, opportunities for merger concepts between sales, art and culture, gastronomy and offices.
With lower sales space and rental costs, retailers can more easily establish a presence in regions where they were previously not active – even across national borders. While the sale of goods takes place mainly online, local visibility can attract new customers and increase brand awareness. The result: growth in new markets. ClearVAT helps online merchants expand into other EU countries with the right tax rates for millions of products and saves them from having to register with national tax authorities.