In addition to many impositions, Corona has also brought us some recommendations for solutions which promise a lot, but don’t always deliver a lot. For example, with the Click & Meet as well which was presented to us at the outset as a saviour for city centres and the shopping experience.
In the meantime, the euphoria has subsided a little because “shopping by appointment” is not absolutely what will help retailers to survive. The spontaneity and the impulsive purchases are falling completely by the wayside which form the bigger part of sales in many industries…
Click & Meet Requires Good Organisation…
… Not only with the customers, but rather also by the retail shops. The appointments must be assigned exactly and honoured whereby it must also be painstakingly kept in mind that only one customer may be in the shop per 40 m² of shop space.
Overlapping appointments have not been allowed. In cases of doubt, a customer must even emphatically be asked to leave the shop when the next customer is already waiting outside – silly only if customers have not been able to then decide to make their purchases during the assigned timeframe.
Shopping by Appointment
Moreover, visiting multiple shops can become a logistical nightmare. The customer must not only set up his appointments in advance and keep track of them, but he must also plan well at the same time how long he will probably stay in the individual shop. If 15 minutes have been scheduled, but the customer has already determined after only 2 minutes that the item being sought isn’t available in the shop, then it becomes stressful. Even trying on clothes isn’t a good idea because it could have the result that the next appointment is already then gone because the customer arrives too late at the next shop.
Some people now suggest the option of even setting up an appointment spontaneously in front of the shop and then briefly waiting. Clearly that does sometimes work, but if the queue is already long, then this isn’t such a good idea – not to mention the fact that long queues are precisely not the places to be during the Corona period.
Digital Shopping World
One can now already observe that younger persons feel very comfortable in this new digital shopping world. However, older persons don’t readily have access to setting up appointments via the smartphone in order to be able to shop.
Not surprisingly, the Handelsverband Deutschland [German Retail Association] (HDE) has referred to the “shopping by appointment” concept as being a catastrophe which can be no financial saviour for most businesses.
Also, with regards to this project, it has been repeatedly shown that Germany is lagging a little behind with regards to digitalisation and, owing to the sometimes exaggerated data protection guidelines, likes to also stand in its own way.
Indeed, there are quite higher-functioning concepts that are conceivable which can make the assignment of appointments unnecessary owing to suitable apps. In addition, through the consistent wearing of FFP2 masks, even multiple persons will be able to be allowed to be in the shop at the same time. In any case, one also wears these masks in the Intensive Care Unit in which the proximity to the patient is often required to be minimal – and moreover also in the public transportation networks where the passengers have to sit somewhat closer together.
Conclusion: Click & Meet has failed. Let’s please promptly develop a more sensible concept. Retail doesn’t have much more time.