b'pandemic, but consumers have been getting schooled too, says Rehyle. Cleaning jewelry Customers began familiarizing themselves with allbefore and after every available shopping options, from buy online, pick up incustomer try-on has become the norm for store (otherwise known as BOPIS) to contactless delivery.jewelry retailers. Here, an Fine jewelry consumers accustomed to hands-onemployee at a Jared the Galleria of Jewelry store service, complimentary beverages and themed in-storewipes down a diamond soirees instead found themselves having their purchasesnecklace.handed to them through the passenger-side window of their cars, watching trunk shows on Instagram Live and getting on Zoom to pick out an engagement ring or anni-versary gift. A lot of customers have experienced for the first time what a Zoom store visit might look like or connecting via FaceTime with a store associate to browse a physical store remotely, Rehyle notes.Shoppers are enjoying the convenience and peace of mind these options offer, particularly at a time when in-store visits might feel unsafe.Some consumers will decide they prefer online shop-ping while others will incorporate BOPIS and other e-commerce options into their shopping routines, she says. And stores may dial up their For those who opt to still shop inYou dont want it to becomesanitation protocol to clean not only physical retail spaces, theyre goingso clinical that it feels ickysurfaces, but inventory as well. Many to find that their favorite stores lookand the consumer questions,jewelers, big and small, already have different. implemented a policy of cleaning piec-do I need to go there again?es after every customer try-on.SPREADING OUTMelissa Gonzalez, Shoppers will see these changes and Health and safety are the main con- safety features and more, but only if cerns for a majority of consumers in theThe Lionesque Group the stores remain open.wake of COVID-19 and thats going to beIn some areas of the U.S., restric-reflected in the retail world. tions eased and stores reopened in the Walmart (No. 2 on the $100 Million Supersellers list), Costco (No.spring, only to be shut down again when COVID-19 cases rose.4), JC Penney (No. 8) and Target (No. 14) are among the major retail- Given the unpredictableand unknownnature of the virus, ers requiring masks to be worn in stores. Hand sanitizer stations are aagility is going to be important to retailers when looking at the fixture in stores large and small. store layout.Some retailers are using floor decals to promote social distancingMelissa Gonzalez, CEO of retail strategy firm The Lionesque or guide store traffic to prevent a pile-up in the aisles.Group, said her company is recommending modular designs to some Shoppers can expect to see more spaced-out shelving as well. of its clients.Well see not only social distancing within merchandising efforts,A modular design is one that creates a space using independent but I also think that we will use signage to communicate more toparts that can be deconstructed and reconstructed quickly, like customers than we have in the past, says Rehyle. Lego blocks.As the retail experience changes, signage will be a key tool forWere really going to have to create agile environments going communicating to customers what to expect, starting with thatforward, whether its the storefront that can quickly pivot from a point masks required sign on the front door. of storytelling to a point of pick-up, or a cash wrap that can serve some-As consumers navigate the new surroundings, signage can pointbody who does self-check-out through their mobile device, she said in them in the right direction, from which way to walk to how to re- a July webinar about the physical retail landscape. quest to see an item. As consumers look to minimize interactions, technology is going Getting a closer look at an item comes with its own set of prob- to play an even greater role in the shopping experience.lems as retailers try to keep the merchandise as clean as possible.Were going to start to see product packaging be a little bit dif- SAFE BUT STILL ENGAGING ferent, says Rehyle. You dont want to touch something that youvePhysical retail is reliant on immersive experiences but when high-probably seen a few other people touch already. touch environments pose a threat, its time to rethink things. She foresees an increase in packaging that is designed to resist orTheres a lot of ways you can immerse a consumer in a non-touch prevent the spread of germs. way and ignite the other senses, Gonzalez said on the webinar.NATIONAL JEWELER 13'