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How ESG will help retailers survive the pandemic

With lockdowns slowly lifting again and more consumers coming out of their homes after months in isolation, the conditions have become far more favourable for the UK’s retail businesses.

Given that every retail business owner had their eyes peeled for a possible opening for the past month, you might not be wasting any time with getting your operations up and running again. Amid a great deal of hope surrounding the current and future state of the industry, however, it’s also vital to note that we are potentially years away from returning to the way life was pre-COVID-19.

While such conditions are still quite far out of sight as authorities continue to figure out how to best combat the pandemic, there is still some hope as the situation we’re in changes daily. As consumer behaviour continues to change toward shopping, there’s one more challenge that retailers need to address: Engaging consumers to come back as the effects of closures wear off.”

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The challenge of wooing customers back in spite of growing fears

As hopeful as one may be when it comes to reopening shop, it’s vital for any business owner to stay realistic over the possibility of footfall slowdowns. Before you consider all the possibilities of what can come about during these trying times, establishing a broader societal impact should be on your agenda.

Although it may not seem like much at first, it is vital to establish practices that are conducive for your business’ environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG). By taking the time to establish a more robust approach to ESG, it becomes easier for any retail business to establish a sense of trust and reliability that will work better towards convincing customers to come back.

How environmental, social, and corporate governance are setting the pace for recovery

Throughout the pandemic, most consumers have become far more particular of a business’s impact on the society to the point that they’ve started to base their post-lockdown purchase plans on what a company did during trying times. In turn, this reality has caused the concept of ESG to surge in terms of importance in the eyes of shareholders and AGMs and become an item of absolute necessity in achieving a continued recovery.

When gauging the impact that this concept has achieved, Investopedia’s EIC Caleb Silver states that “reader interest for ESG is up 20% year over year.” Expounding further on its impact, he stated that “[the] most popular article on the subject has spiked more than 1300%, showing just how conscious consumers are of a retail business’s societal impact. 

It is because of this development that the UK businesses are now urged to take advantage of the situation and start re-evaluating their overall societal impact. Actions like contactless payments that ensure consumer safety and microdonations for causes in partnership with customers have become far more significant. By capitalising on crucial opportunities to achieve a stronger and more socially-conscious ESG, any company can refine its image in the customers’ eyes well enough to top their priority lists as stores reopen!

Conclusion

Although it may have only been a niche concept for some businesses, environmental, social, and corporate governance is now setting the pace for how UK retailers will survive and thrive after the lockdowns. By taking the time to re-evaluate your business’s impact on society while improving its own ESG approach, you’ll be able to recover and bounce back in no time!

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