Recovery is on every brand’s mind – and they all want to come back in a big way. But what will Europe’s Luxury shops do sans tourists? Let’s see what digital consumer intelligence reveals about the situation and some takeaways that can benefit every brand as they struggle with similar concerns.

With little tourism, brands are missing consumer connection, this is particularly relevant for luxury shops where the experience is part of the allure. There are many angles of this dilemma for shops to consider, including:

  • How Tourism is taking a break and going local
  • Shopping safely in a post pandemic society
  • Luxurious approaches to consumer satisfaction

And lots of stats around what to expect, including:

  • Travel from overseas to the UK may drop down to 59% of 2019
  • People relying on product influencers to help them make a purchase decision make up 49% of all consumers, something brands should pay attention to.
  • 56% are planning a holiday within the UK this year
  • 60% of UK shoppers would like temperatures taken at the door as an extra safety precaution

Tourist Hot Spots, Aren’t

Cities and towns reliant on tourism are biting their nails with anxiety and anticipation of “tourist season”. This year will prove to be different on many levels, from lack of travel to new safety measures, however UK business is out to prove they can adapt to meet the times.

Here’s what the conversation around travel, holiday and tourism looks like:

UK Shopping cluster map 1

Breaking it down into months, conversation on tourism has waned a little. All the Tourists Tourist Attractions is the talk of the bar graph, and Rich Holiday Poor Holiday comes in second but points us where the thought and mood are headed in 2020.

UK Shopping timeline map

Digging deeper reveals multi-layered conversations and statistics that we can chew on.

Analyzing our conversation cluster reveals that 52% of the linked articles are positive, with more neutral to negative, leaving opportunity for positive sentiment to grow.

social engagement statistics

Unveiling more statistics, current forecasts show tourist visits made to the UK from overseas may drop down to 16.9 million in 2020 (59%).

tourist visit stats to UK

However, there is hope if you know where to look:

  • Tourism is the fastest growing industry in Britain and is expected to grow 3.8% a year up until 2025
  • 56% of Brits are planning a staycation
  • And if pets are any indicator of travel, UK dog-friendly travel concierge PetsPyjamas reported a 41% increase in bookings from May compared to April for getaways to be taken later in the year.

dog friendly travel

The travel industry is hopeful that tourism figures will return to growth in 2021.

Staycations and Last-minute Changes

Popular magazines like Little London, emphasize staycations my benefit local high streets and it would add a boost to the local economy. And with many local outdoor attractions open, it will help ease consumers who aren’t ready to fly just yet.

Heligan Gardens opened their doors, in hope tourists, local and foreign, would visit. They also outlined safety measures being taken to ensure their customers remain healthy.

tourist garden safety measures to entice UK travel

And for those ready to beat feet, Ryanair flights offers travel to the café lined streets of Malaga starting at less than £20 on Spain’s Costa del Sol. Or you could go to Reykjavik for £41 with Easy Jet. And if consumers are feeling uneasy about spending money, this airline company is allowing changes in flights for no fee up to 14 days before take-off.

EasyJet ad for UK tourists

And if you’re confused on where to go, you need only look at travel influencers.

According to Heepsy, the top 2 travel influencers in the UK are swimming in followers. And 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations.

travel influencers

But if consumers are hesitant to travel, will they shop? The answer is yes, but let’s look closer at what consumers expect.

Sanitized Shopping in Showrooms

Studies show the top three activities tourists participate in when on holiday are restaurants, going to the pub and shopping. Now is the time for shops everywhere to evaluate customer sentiment to help guide them in decision making.

It’s no secret, retail sales are down, and where grocery stores fared better than most, clothing was sitting in the negative in March.

clothing sales and overall UK shopping trends

This only emphasizes the need for clothing stores to do what they can to ease consumers health and safety concerns.

Here are some actions stores are putting into practice:

  • Reducing return lines by having a ‘drop box’.
  • Installing plastic screens at checkouts
  • Clear signage to explain social distancing measures inside and outside the store
  • Markings inside and outside of stores to indicate correct queue distancing
  • Encouraging shoppers to shop alone where possible
  • Installing cleaning stations
  • Considering one-way systems (different entrance and exit)
  • Encouraging cashless purchases

And 60% of people would like shops to check temperatures at the entrance. Retailers are responding, and we’ll view how consumers feel about it.

Brands Sharing Contactless Plans

Footwear specialist Kurt Geiger is planning ahead as stores reopen. Part of his “clean open” will require shoes that have been tried on to go into 24-hour quarantine before another customer can try them on. The brand will also ask shoppers to wear disposable socks when trying on shoes, and for everything else, they prepared a slide show on Instagram.

reopening ad in UK

Another brand running to meet consumers expectations is Coventry Runner.

This company made sure their consumers will be safe on June 15th, cross posting on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Part of their plan is hand sanitizer, closed changing rooms and encouraged forms of contactless payment.

Running company shopping ad

To find out how consumers feel about the new rules, we look at the top emotions expressed for Kurt Geiger, and the net sentiment of Coventry Runner.

Consumers in favor of Kurt Geiger are expressing their love, and letting us know this brand is outstanding, great and the best place – all wrapped up with a heart-eyed cat emoji. Net sentiment is also looking great for Coventry Runner, there isn’t a negative attitude to be seen.

sentiment of UK shoppers

And with talk of swifter sanitizing systems using ozone-based technology to help reduce the quarantine time for clothes that customers handled to an hour or less, there is hope that this new normal won’t feel so strange.

And then, Luxury Brands are taking it one step further……

Private Shopping Experiences for Social Distancing

The age of the aimless browse is over, and this could be the time to pivot to online clothes shopping. However, luxury brands are taking a more personal approach and other designers and clothing experts are taking a longing second look.

Dior’s customers can walk in or make an appointment by texting or calling the sale associate directly. At Louis Vuitton, a customer is assigned a sales assistant who guides your journey in the store, safeguarding you from bumping into another customer. The sales assistant touches the product for you, to prevent cross contamination. And they also offer appointments.

booking private shopping appointments

Echoing what luxury brands such as Dior and Louis Vuitton are doing is Victoria Lane Fashions.

Victoria Lane is no slouch, she has been paying attention to the times, and her customers. Announcing she will be ready to open June 16th, she gave her store a fresh look, and has kept her customers up to date on her blog.

Victoria Lane shopping refresh to attract tourism

And she is clear about safety measures, from hand sanitizer to cleaning changing rooms between clients. Once again, it’s the personal touch of offering appointments that stands out.

Even with the intimate approaches brought to consumers via Luxury brands and stores emulating them, will the future be online shopping with accessorized tools to help make it more personal?

Technology To The Rescue

Zara has an online fitting tool that uses your height, weight and body shape to recommend which size you buy.

irtual shopping for tourists via online form

The picture isn’t complete without analyzing who is buying, as it’s the who that often leads trends.

Numbers help us see who top shoppers are:

  • 32% of spending is by Millennials
  • By 2025, 50% of spending will be by Millennials
  • And 60% of Generation Z and Millennials make purchases on their phone.

With the top trends being led by Millennials, it’s important to have access to their shopping habits.

Digital consumer analytics can help you keep your finger on the pulse of what today’s consumers want, along with trending conversations that will inevitably impact your brand. Reach out for a demo to see it all in action and prepare for whatever is headed our way next!

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