Future Retail Industry Strategies & COVID-19 Impact on Retail


Our entire world has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Growth in the economy has been halted. Due to this crisis, many people have lost their jobs and suffered emotionally, physically, and financially. This pandemic has drastically altered how businesses and industries will operate in the future in just a few short months.

Today, let’s focus on how Indian retailers are coping with the pressure of the crisis and running their businesses. The impact of COVID-19 on retail is evident, and in addition to this, it has also impacted the health and movement of the people.

COVID-19 Effect on Retailers: Current, Coming, and Future Phase

The pandemic has worsened the situation for Indian retailers. They have to figure out how to deal with the situation right now, in the future, and beyond. Right now, we are living in the “now” phase that has observed a halt in the business.

Groceries, medications, and other stores that sell food are considered essentials today, but they still encounter many difficulties. Retailers face a number of challenges, such as controlling customer demand, dealing with supply chain issues, adhering to social distance norms, and maintaining everyone’s hygiene.

Compared to other products on the market, the impact of the pandemic crisis on essential commodities is less severe. Customers no longer trust the services and only buy the necessities anymore.

When the industry steps in the “next” phase, they need to make proper strategies to get back in motion. The retail post COVID scenario will put forward a new challenge to adjust according to new business techniques.

The retail industry’s future strategies will provide a roadmap to flourish well in the market. It will present the shopkeepers with a challenge to demonstrate their mettle and adopt various and practical methods to run their business successfully.

Issues for retailers in different sectors

1. Employee welfare and management

Currently, the main challenge most retailers are facing is how to control employee expense costs. For their frontline employees, they must provide a suitable, healthy environment.

2. Trade and supply chain

The demand for necessities has increased dramatically as a result of the lockdown fear. As a result, non-essential items are being hoarded in stores because no one is looking to purchase any of them.

Due to the disruption of the supply chain for necessities caused by transportation restrictions, demand has increased.

3. Brand and clientage protection

Due to an increase in anxiety, retailers must deal with huge crowds. Additionally, they must stop any negative advertising brought on by maniacs who cause annoyance. In addition, they must uphold their reputation while maintaining hygienic standards.

4. Finance

Retailers must manage the income flow to cover salaries and other costs as there is less of a demand for their goods. In order to plan appropriately for short-term liquidity, they are looking for solutions.

5. Technology and security

It is essential to maintain online traffic given the exponential growth of online services. Retailers must consider cybersecurity issues as a result. Additionally, they must use cutting-edge technology to maximize customer no-contact interactions.

Change in Consumer Behavior Due to COVID-19

A drastic shift can be observed in consumer behavior due to the pandemic ranging from the “now” phase to the “beyond” phase.

The consumers in the “now” stage are busy piling the stock for the essential commodities for the future so that they don’t feel scarcity later on. All of the grocery stores and food establishments serve both urban and rural residents.

When the consumers enter the “next” phase, then daily life will start pacing as it was earlier, but the customers will start doubting everything.

By observing the current situation, we can quickly determine that there will be a change in consumer buying behavior as they will be more likely to choose affordable local brands over expensive names. In order for customers to have confidence, businesses must digitize every aspect of their operations while ensuring a secure transaction.

Top 6 Effective Resilience strategies for Indian retailers

The impact of COVID-19 on the retail market is visible. The retailers need to adopt the new marketing strategies so they are well prepared for the “now”, “next”, and “beyond” phase to cope up with the market needs. The retail industry’s future strategies will decide their new consumers.

Retailers must spend money in places with high conversion rates. They must consider the requirements of the new customers who are depending on them. They must consider not only the situation that exists now, but also the future and even further into the future, when normalcy will eventually return.

Retailers will undoubtedly benefit in the future if they adopt speed and agility in the here and now.

1. Frugal in Managing Finance

For people all over the country, managing finances will be a very difficult task. Numerous people have been hurt by the worldwide decline in employment, pay, interest rates, and installments. In order to have enough cash flow and margin to make it through this phase, retailers have been forced to optimize costs.

2. Agile in sustainable thinking

No one was well-prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought with it a great deal of uncertainty. To adapt to new operational models, the retail sector must be adaptable. The selection of products must satisfy the requirement, and this is crucial.

3. Spruced up in supply chain

To properly participate in the supply chain, retailers must exercise great caution. The supply process is continuously impacted by shifting consumer demands, so retailers must be alert enough to deal with all sources of supply. They must create a proper plan to handle all the logistics and inventory so that their business can continue to operate no matter what happens until the situation is brought under control. The business can advance if it adopts digital practices. To satisfy the needs of the customers, the company must adopt delivery-based business models.

4. Tactful in Talent Management

You should improve as a leader if you want your company to prosper in the coming years. Asking your staff frequently about their wellbeing will help you establish trust in the company over time. Once things are back to normal, all they need to do is update their skills to meet the evolving needs of the company.

5. Effective in Client Retention and Management

The secret will lie in retention. Retailers must take care to keep their regular customers. Regular feedback and prompt service will increase customer confidence in the services and make shopping more enjoyable. For everyone’s safety, they need to demonstrate that proper hygiene standards are being upheld.

6. Responsible in Regulatory and Legal Compliance

To ensure the safety of the populace, the state, federal, and local governments have passed a number of regulations and laws. It will be very expensive for the retailers to follow all the regulations and safety precautions. Their resources will also be hampered. However, they must work with the government because these actions are solely intended to improve the situation. It is now everyone’s responsibility to support the government as the lockdown is gradually lifted.

No one can foresee what will happen to the sector as a result of the COVID-19’s effects as it develops. Everyone should change their business practices and make their organization flexible and agile in light of the pandemic. Everyone ought to be equipped to deal with this situation should it arise again in the future. Every industry has been compelled to concentrate on digital means in order to have adequate defenses in place. The retailers must now thoroughly analyze the situation and devise strategies for overcoming all of these crises.

Bottom line

It is still too early to estimate how COVID-19 will affect retailers. We can only hope that it comes to an end soon. A flexible business plan and a team with all the necessary tools will stand out and thrive in the current environment. Undoubtedly, the future we can foresee right now is one of digitization.

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