The short-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic on retailers in the country will be severe, but retail sales recovery period for India is expected to kick-start from the first week of May subject to the lockdown not being extended further, a report by Capillary Technologies said.
The report said until March 16, the consumer retail sales and walk-ins did not see much dip compared to last year and this could be due to festive shopping (Ugadi, Gudi Padwa, Navratri etc).
“However, the India consumer retail witnessed a big drop in sales by 46 percent and 55 percent fall in the number of customers per store from March 17 to 25, which is expected to drop further in the coming weeks due to the ongoing nation-wide lockdown,” it added.
The government had announced a 21-day lockdown starting March 24 to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus infection that has claimed thousands of lives globally.
In India, the number of infected patients is over 1,700 and 50 deaths have been reported so far.
The study by Capillary Technologies was undertaken on the impact of COVID-19 in the retail ecosystems of India, Middle East, China, and Singapore. Data of over 10,000 stores was analysed in these regions before and during lockdowns.
“Based on the analysis, it is evident that the short-term impact of COVID-19 on retailers will be severe…The most resilient retailers surviving this epidemic are the omnichannel retailers. Brands who invested in enabling a personalised omnichannel shopping experience are experiencing the fruits of their labour,” it said.
At a company level, offline teams should coordinate with the online team to divert the traffic to their e-commerce website/app and clear out the inventory, the report said.
“This is a very trying period for retailers across the globe. Reports suggest that it will take 5 or 6 months for the world to recover completely from the impact of this pandemic…In India, we are still in the critical phase of a national lockdown,” Aneesh Reddy, CEO of Capillary Technologies, said.
While the Indian government is doing everything in its power to battle the virus from their end, retailers can also look up to their peers in China and Singapore to save their businesses and chart a quick road to recovery, he added.
“After this pandemic, we believe that Indian retailers across sizes will understand the power of omnichannel digital transformation. In the long run, consumer brands particularly should increase the percentage of their e-commerce business and deploy O2O (Online-to-Offline model) strategy of reaching consumers across touchpoints to prevent businesses from closing down,” Reddy said.