Apparel Is Banking on Smart Tech to Help Reopen Retail Locations

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The coronavirus had people indoors and bingeing Netflix for so long, they probably saw more than one old movie like “Mean Girls” that captured a mall scene of yesteryear: crowded stores, escalators and food courts, and most people carrying shopping bags. That’s a stark difference from the spooky scene malls experienced in the days COVID-19 forced stores to shutdown nationwide. As states and non-essential stores continue to open, retailers recognize they have a huge hurdle to overcome, and they’re turning to technology to help coax the consumer back.

Retail Predictive Analytics company First Insight polled consumers about their feelings around safety when visiting stores and found that most (54 percent) would feel safest in a grocery store, followed by a drug store chain (50 percent), big box retailer (45 percent), and local small businesses and warehouse clubs (43 percent). Just 33 percent of respondents said they would feel safest shopping in a mall. The firm also found that 65 percent of women and 54 percent of men said they wouldn’t feel safe trying on clothes in dressing rooms.

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