The lockdown and retrenchment have spelt disaster for businesses across the country, bringing them to a standstill. While the extent of the lockdown is hitherto uncertain, with a slew of states urging the Government for extension, retail entities can definitely use this time to their advantage.
In an exclusive interview, Nitin Mohan, Founder & Director, Blackberrys talks about how his company is utilising this time to upgrade brand strategy, systems and technologies to ensure smoother operations going forward as well as a personalised shopping experience.
Excerpts from the interview…
How is your brand bracing itself to tackle the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown?
The ongoing global pandemic has brought a lot of businesses to a grinding halt across the globe. Though it is an unprecedented situation, it is imperative for brands to measure its impact and devise strategies to bounce back. At Blackberrys, we are taking this lockdown phase as a great opportunity to unravel the values of our brand and analyse what the brand could mean in the future. We are working on adding new product categories and reinventing ourselves by focusing on sustainable fashion which we have been trying to do from many years.
Apart from this, we are also concentrating on our upcoming campaigns, and on using technology to revive demand and be ready for the future by building the brand’s portal www.blackberrys.com and strengthening our collaboration with e-commerce partners.
How long do you think this crisis will continue? How serious an impact will it have on fashion brands and retailers across India?
The current situation has taken all fashion brands by surprise, it’s been quite a blow. Retail brands have witnessed a shrinkage in consumption due to the closure of shopping malls and stores, which has affected both the revenue and inventory of the businesses. However, we are quite convinced that the situation will be favorable for everyone by the next quarter and we foresee some positive changes in the industry post the pandemic. We feel that the festive season will be normal, and we would see some customer sentiment coming back.
This unexpected shutdown has exposed consumers to the harsh realities of economic uncertainty. How do you think will this influence consumer behavior and consumption patterns in the months to come? What will be the long-term psychological effects on consumers?
Post lockdown the biggest concerns for retail brands will be ‘Public Psyche’. People will be vigilant about avoiding crowded and enclosed spaces like shopping malls. Consumers will now re-think and re-prioritise their purchases, which will eventually affect brand sales and strategies. There will be an inclination towards online shopping and e-commerce is expected to grow even further in the coming months.
How are you preparing for the post-pandemic era? Post the lockdown, what will be your welcome-back strategy to lift consumer sentiments?
Considering the current situation, we are redesigning our business strategies. Despite the slowdown, we at Blackberrys are utilising this time to upgrade our systems and technologies, and equip ourselves to adopt digital practices for efficient operations and to render a personalised shopping experience to our patrons. We are also preparing for our upcoming campaigns in the coming quarters. We plan to undertake stringent measures to ensure customer safety and satisfaction and revise our employees and store policies to assure a safe and convenient shopping experience to our customers. We will also be investing in creating a host of interesting offers, and gifting propositions as value additions for our customers.
Various researches have documented that the lockdown will force a new discount culture to liquidate stock for the rest of the year. Do you agree?
We feel it would be too early to predict a situation for the rest of the year in terms of consumption, pricing and discounts. Fortunately, the season in India remains the same till late October, giving us an ample extension to push our collections and liquidate the stock. We are highly optimistic about the situation coming back to normal by the next quarter, hence, there are no plans of offering deep discounts only to liquidate stock as such. Instead, we will be focusing on curating exciting offers and deals for our customers.