The final two days of TSO 2020 highlighted shoppers doing their part to stimulate the economy.
A bit of a departure. During the #designweekja2020 wrap seminar, Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke mentioned that at the onset of the pandemic the government directed $45b towards supplementing the economy. Remember, this is after the Government tabled the annual budget. Now, almost eight months later, the benefits of this injection are evident. People are spending, mainly on food and home improvement, though many salaries have been cut.
What was evident about TSO 2020 shoppers was that they were not there to browse. If you're going to leave your house during a pandemic, it's because you need something. And the tills at Bascho on Orange Street, Singer on Constant Spring Road, Payless Tropical Plaza, ATL on Half-Way-Tree Road, La Belle Femme on Lady Musgrave Road, and Fashion 911 on Windsor Avenue were certainly ringing.
The #OTeam loves downtown shoppers! There is always a vibe even during the middle of the day. Bashco on Orange Street was very busy, and shoppers were mindful of COVID-19 protocols so they moved swiftly so that others could also make purchases. Again, household products — décor, accessories, appliance, kitchenware — were most popular.
The array of top-notch and well-known brand-name appliances and electronics at the ATL showroom has resulted in a fiercely loyal customer base. Customer service reps there were busy on the phones, confirming prices, checking stock, and making customer appointments to ensure that everyone remains safe during the pandemic. The same situation was occurring at Singer on Constant Spring Road. During these times, not only do sales representatives have to get creative with their outreach, but also anticipate their customers' needs.
But fashion retailers weren't left out of the conversation. When the team arrived at La Belle Femme — the Corporate Area's best bra fitters — they had to wait as the store was at capacity. Over at Fashion 911, the team had just missed a rush of customers, but the rainy afternoon would not deter others from shopping.
In March, KPMG published another of its insights notably “The realities of retailing in a COVID-19 world”. The publication encouraged retailers to “think through the longer-term implications” of COVID-19, and stressed that strong customer relationships are crucial to weathering the proverbial storm. “In this environment, shoring up the customer relationship is just as important as shoring up the bottom line,” it noted.
Jamaican retailers are accustomed to pivoting and getting creative in the ways that they serve their customers. TSO 2020 proved that Jamaican retail business sectors are resolute and have embraced change and are adapting.