5 Things Retailers Must do to Get Back to Business Post COVID-19
The spread of the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked unbelievable havoc, where the retail industry is facing difficulties like never before. The bizarre situation has constrained retailers to rethink their expansion strategies and make short-term plans instead to navigate through the crisis. Many of them now look toward digital channels to manage their dwindling sales.
With unemployment rates matching those of the Large Recession and a new layer of challenges brought on by social distancing, business closures and supply interruptions, companies must ask: how will the COVID-19 crisis change the world of business? Which new consumer behaviors will last once the pandemic ends? What opportunities will develop for business growth, and what does that mean for swiveling existing businesses or launching startups?
As a retailer, you must remain flexible and forecast permanent changes in consumer behavior. It is now essential to prepare for increased traffic in the digital landscape.
To help spark inspiration, the following lists 5 ways the world might be different post the coronavirus pandemic and how businesses can use these insights to succeed post-pandemic.
1. Greater reliance on E-commerce:
Retailers must ensure that their digital platform offers detailed information including the product description, technical specification, ratings and reviews, images and videos, product availability, pricing, and promotional offers. Larger digital shelf space allows exploring more. For example, you may realize that consumers may also be willing to invest in fitness wear and home-gym equipment, beauty, electronics, and home décor. This allows you to add more relevant goods to your existing inventory.
2. Contactless shopping:
Already implemented with the delivery services, shoppers are likely to seek shopping options that limit or eliminate contact with other people and surfaces.
From local restaurants to nationwide franchises and hardware stores, every retailer can identify opportunities to boost sales with curbside pickup and delivery. For example, software and app developers can build platforms that make it easy to order, fulfill orders and track order status. Contactless credit card machines are another idea, given that many will be reticent to manually enter their security codes at checkout. Thus, a society wary of contact presents excellent opportunities for innovative companies to cash in.
3. Strong customer relationships:
In the current situation, retailers mustn’t panic and use this time to prepare for new challenges. They must stay in constant touch with customers to build lasting relationships.
Personalization on digital platforms can be achieved in several ways. Retailers can create customized offers, interact with customers on social media channels, or use various customer-friendly tools to understand specific requirements. Social media channels, in particular, provide a useful way to engage customers and subtly promote products and services. Regular communication via emails can also go a long way in building strong relationships with customers. It can persuade customers that brands value their association and realize the need to stay connected during this time.
4. Regionalized production and supply chains:
Businesses that depend on supplies from distant sources have strived to continue operations during the pandemic. This is especially true for retailers, manufacturers, and e-commerce dealers that source from faraway places such as China.
Going forward, businesses might seek production and supply chains closer to home. This will not only help protect against future disruptions but also will result in cost savings due to reduced shipping and transportation expenses. Saving money and securing against potential disasters are gains many companies are likely to explore. At the same time, a revolutionized market presents new opportunities for entrepreneurs to make their way towards or start manufacturing plants, warehouses, online sourcing platforms, and other related businesses.
5. Ongoing remote employees:
Remote employees save companies money and enable businesses to retain top talent that seeks adaptability and the ability to work from the comfort of their own homes and dodge commutes. A recent survey revealed that 72% of CFOs plan to shift some employees to permanent remote work after the pandemic ends. Of those, 27% said 10% of their workforce will remain remote, 18% said 21% of their workforce will remain remote and 5% said half of their workforce will remain remote.
A lot of things are going to be different once the COVID-19 crisis subsides. Right now, businesses need to consider how those changes will affect their companies and how they should respond. It’s also extremely critical to consider how customers’ lives will change and what opportunities exist within those prophecies. In doing so, companies can identify ways to improve their businesses, provide what their customers need, innovate new commodities and services, and position themselves for success post-pandemic.