How will Retail Industry Look Like Post Lock down?

 


This whole world is standing at a place where if we see our past, it was horrifying and amidst this COVID-19 pandemic, no one is sure of what will be our future.

As per the recent IMF Report, Global Growth is projected at -4.9 percent in 2020. It is clearly evident that due to this pandemic, world economy has faced a major setback and the Industries worldwide are trying really hard to cope up.

Still we are about 6-8 months away from the COVID-19 vaccine and the world has started adjusting with this new normal i.e. wearing masks and carrying pocket sanitizers whenever going out and we all are trying to live with this virus.

Slowly and gradually, unlock stage has begun. Still most of the people prefer work from home but there are some people who are forced to move out of their homes may be because of the nature of their jobs.

Like a rational human being, we all are spending less and saving our money for possible future emergencies.

Just to quote some facts published in a report, as per a report published on July 2020 by Liam O’Connell-Research Expert Covering Retail and FMCG-Global Retail Sales were projected to be around 26.7 trillion U.S. dollars by 2022, up from approximately 23.6 trillion U.S. dollars in 2018.

According to the same report, In 2019, Retail Industry total sales stood at 24.78 trillion U.S. dollars but due to this corona pandemic, it has been projected that Total Retail Sales will decline and will be at 23.36 trillion U.S. Dollars.

As we all know that retail industry contributes a lot to GDP Growth, which currently is facing demand fluctuations. In these tough times, retailers are forced to think of new and innovative ways to cater to their customers.

 

 

Some Notable Changes in Retail Industry

Nowadays most of us are taking precautions about where, how and what we are purchasing, so it has become imperative for retailers to be ready with increased capabilities and faster operations. 

According to a KPMG Report, Almost 82 percent of consumers today are buying from retailers/brands who have taken enough measures for maintaining hygiene due to corona. So it has become important for retailers to reduce human touch points to avoid corona spread. One more thing which is to be observed here is how important is it to have “Cashless Transaction System”.

There are some sectors which have witnessed growth because of considerable increase in sales of consumer goods in countries like US, UK, Italy etc. which were heavily affected due to Corona.

Since only some of the grocery stores were allowed to open for essentials in lockdown, consumers were seen stocking up daily need essentials may be because of the fear of further lockdown.

This has created significant out of stock situations many a times for most of the retailers. Therefore predicting and managing the demand has become a tedious task for retailers in these corona times. 

Also, it has become very important for consumer goods companies to identify their key suppliers and assess their ability to fulfill supply requirements. In every case, they should be ready with Plan B to avoid any contingencies.

Since demand can come from any geographic area, so companies now have to be ready with excellent delivery capabilities to offer delivery anywhere in the world as this will enhance their cash flows.

In my view, some retailers should also adopt appointment system wherein only some customers are allowed to shop at one point of time as per their appointment booked in advance but this strategy is only fruitful for those who cater to premium segment that can generate them big profits even at lower sales volume for example luxury stores in malls-beauty parlors etc.

 


Strategies of Different Brands

In the next few months, customer requirements are expected to see a massive change due to limitation of resources; hence the focus will be on purchasing essentials rather than indulging in buying luxuries.

In this context, Brands like Pantaloons, Max have started promoting work from home casuals to attract customer’s attention and promoting these products as essentials.

As per Chairman of Fabindia Overseas Pvt. Ltd. William Bissell, “This is a time to re-imagine the business. To think that things will go back to the way they were, once the crisis is over, is wishful thinking”.

With this thought in mind, this brand has taken some amazing and innovative steps to attract their customers and gain their revenue back.

They have launched “White Glove Service” for their loyal customers in which if they sign up, their retail staff will provide customized catalogs and look books for household items, furniture, apparel, accessories and they will also bring items selected by you to your home for trial. Isn’t it amazing!

Not only this, All the 233 stores, they have opened with enhanced safety measures like steam ironing every cloth before and after trial, equipped changing rooms with disinfectant sprays and toilets have been restructured to make them hands free zones-soap dispensers and flushes.

There is no doubt in the fact that online businesses are gaining momentum during this period and it is safe also because you need not go outside for purchasing but that does not mean that brick and mortar stores will lose their identity. It is just that they need to improvise or restructure their sales practices and let’s hope that all will be well soon!

 

Written by - Anshika Gupta

Edited by – Adrija Saha


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