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5 ways fashion brands can utilise the lockdown to ramp up business post COVID-19 pandemic

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The novel pandemic has brought the world to its knees and it is proving to be a testing time for businesses across the globe. As extended lockdowns, social distancing and working from the confines of homes have become the new reality, fashion brands and retailers across the world are struggling to mitigate disruptions and cope up with revenue reductions.

We are in uncharted territory where nothing is certain. Nobody knows when businesses will come back to normal.

While it is hard to predict the post pandemic scenario, it can safely be stated it will take some time before things to come back to normal. In the meanwhile, players across the value chain can definitely utilise this time to up their career skills. We bring you a few basic steps that will help you prepare your brand/business to shine though the times of uncertainty that awaits us all.

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11 KEEP UP THE COMMUNICATION

The pandemic has tagged along massive shifts in consumer behaviour and it is utterly important for brands to change their behaviour with it. The foremost responsibility of any smart brand or retailer amidst this crisis is to keep communication lines open and build a relationship with both consumers and staff.

Brands can use SMSs, emails and social media platforms for direct interaction with customers and gatherable data on their preferences. They should also focus on changing campaign strategies, providing digital entertainment, and coming up with products that are relevant to the times. These will go miles in establishing a deeper connect with consumers and ensure positive returns in the long run.

Modern consumers tend to resonate with brands with strong sense of social responsibility. Hence, you can also consider delivering simple messages that address the support for efforts the ongoing pandemic.

Similarly, it is equally crucial for brands and retailers to keep communicating with staff members and employees. Just
like everyone else, they are scared too and are banking on their employers for some semblance of support or security. This will give them a sense of belonging thereby boosting their morale and optimism is in uncertain times as such, which in turn will ensure high loyalty and dedication in the turbulent times that lay ahead.

Even after the lock down ends the footfall is expected to be thin. Hence, this also is great opportunity to encourage employees learn new skills and grow in their professional front.

1. KEEP UP THE COMMUNICATION

22 INCREASE SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY

With no social spaces, the internet has become, for almost everyone, the only link to society today. The COVID-19 crisis has resulted in increased online shopping globally. Globally, there has been a 70 percent increase in internet time and 60 percent spike in engagement across various social media platforms over the past month. According to data revealed by Facebook recently, the company has seen up to 70 percent more time spent across their apps, with Instagram and Facebook Live views doubling in just a week.

Even in India, the pandemic and subsequent has unfolded a welcoming phenomenon – a sharp rise in the number of first-time e-commerce users, who had been so far uncomfortable with shopping online.

Brands and retailers will have to ramp up their digital footprint – their main lifeline in these times of crisis. Use social media to assure your existing consumers and advertise your product and services to new consumers. Expand your google search marketing by keeping a close tab on keyword ranking and searches. Check your PPC too because keywords targeted yesterday may not be the most relevant today.

This is also an excellent time for brands to grow their digital follower base through contests, engaging content, or via targeted ads — because the entire world is spending far more time on social media than they did a few months back.

2. INCREASE SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY

33 ANTE UP YOUR BRANDING GAME

Brands can easily utilise this time to fix their strategies. It’s always wise to prepare an action plan and start with the basics – like the website. Our busy schedules seldom leave us with extra time and many of us tend to overlook the fundamentals – like SEO, user interference/user experience, etc. This is an excellent time to improve the brand website’s user journey and ensure that the website conveys the right brand message.

3. ANTE UP YOUR BRANDING GAME

44 RELY ON TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE

Global marketing research firms have ubiquitously called the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic ‘an unexpected catalyst for tech adoption’ in the retail industry. While the retail industry’s increasing reliance on technology over the past few years goes unsaid, experts claim that the challenges posed by the pandemic will invariably accelerate the rate of adoption of new technology and tools.

A plethora of brands might be dipping their toe into the digital space for the first time. They can start with basic tools like chatbots that can aid brands to keep lines of communication open. There are myriad technologies available today including, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Natural Language Processing, etc., that brands can employ in their own capacity.

As e-commerce gears up to be the mainstay of the retail industry, data is all set to become the new oil for competition and the fashion industry will no longer be able to afford to not utilise modern technologies like AI, Data Mining and Machine Learning.

Even physical stores would be compelled to bank more on technology for their day to day operations – right from technologies that gives flexibility in ordering and fulfilling to tools that help in assortment, allocation and forecasts.

4. RELY ON TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE

55 THINK SMART, ADAPT FASTER

Brands and retailers need to control cash flow, assess inventory, re-look at the supply chain management, review marketing and advertising, engage in sale forecasting and evaluate how operations will be carried out once the lockdown comes to an end. Thinking smart and modifying the value proposition in line with the realities of the market, are the only ways to keep
the momentum going once the state of normalcy returns.

Post the crisis, businesses will have to extol a combination of scalability and agility with resilience at the fore of every strategy. This crisis will compel us all to think and act at an unprecedented speed so as to not compromise with customer experience and fill gaps.

Finally, the fashion industry is no stranger to disruption. It has been through pretty exceptional times over the years yet somehow managed to move on, stronger than before. In hindsight, the pandemic has presented fashion brands and retailers with the rare opportunity to reflect and introspect and come up with much-needed changes required to take their businesses and the industry to the next level.

5. THINK SMART, ADAPT FASTER
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