Retail has changed massively because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the nationwide lockdown is eased and stores start to re-open, retailers are getting a firsthand experience of the unsettling sentiment of the market. But, while it may seem that uncertainty is the only constant at the moment, there are glimmers of hope. What businesses need now is to bolster their chances of sales is develop a dynamic operating model with more personal relationship with their customers.
Here are a few simple aspects that will help brands and retailers achieve that:
Instill Confidence in Consumers: As hygiene and safety are the core concerns now, brands will have to not only exercise safe in-store practices but also convey the same to consumers. This stands more true for brick and mortar retailers, who will now have to go the extra mile to assure consumers of a safe shopping environment.
Amplify Your Digital Capabilities: Digital is not only becoming the primary sales channel post the pandemic; it can aid brands and retailers manage costs better, bolster efficiency across the value chain better and help respond to consumer requirements way faster and cheaper. E.g., it can open doors to new logistics and sales-fulfillment alternatives like click-and-collect or drive-through and aid brands with creative ways of customer acquisition. And the biggest advantage will be data — that brands and retailers can analyze to gauze the pulse of the market and increase conversion.
Leverage the Potential of Apps: The COVID-19 pandemic has confined us within the 6 inches of our mobile screens. This makes apps very crucial for customer acquisition. Apps are pretty affordable today, can be easily tweaked as per individual requirements and can help fashion retailers, both online and stores, in more than one way. From supplementing shopping in stores through pre-made shopping lists, in-store satnav to cashier-less checkouts, apps are revolutionising shopping post COVID. Apps can also be used to geo-target consumers and present them with more accurate and relevant advertisements and offers.
Show Your Human Side: Modern consumers tend to resonate with brands with strong sense of social responsibility. The COVID-19 pandemic has only amplified this – brand personality matters more now than ever. Consumers are craving for human connection and brands and retailers can capitalize on it by show them the human side of their businesses and the people surrounding it.
Exploit the Power of Social Media: Globally, there has been a 70 percent increase in internet time and 60 percent spike in engagement across various social media platforms. Fashion businesses can take advantage of social media for direct interaction with customers and establishing a deeper connect. As a way of showing its human side, Facebook is even providing support to help businesses through these challenging times via regular tips and training across Facebook and Instagram — something that no businesses can afford to ignore. Also, social media holds potential especially for brands that are yet to develop their e-commerce capabilities — they can easily reach out to consumers and take orders through social platforms.