Future Retail Strategies & COVID-19 Impact on the Retail Industry
We have all been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic on a global scale. Economic growth has been slowed. Several people have lost their jobs as a result of this crisis, and many more have endured physical, psychological, and financial hardships. This pandemic has completely changed 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 conducting business. 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 made the situation for Indian retailers worse. 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.
Essential items like groceries, medicines, and other food stores are now permitted to operate, but they still encounter many difficulties. Retailers face a variety of challenges, such as controlling customer demand, resolving supply chain issues, adhering to social distance norms, and maintaining everyone’s hygiene.
Essential commodities are affected by the pandemic crisis to a lesser extent than other products on the market. Except for the necessities, customers no longer trust the services and have stopped making other purchases.
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. The challenge will force shop owners to show their mettle and adopt new, efficient methods for managing their businesses.
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 front-line employees, they must provide a suitable, healthy environment.
2. Trade and supply chain
The demand for necessities has increased dramatically due to the threat of lockdown. Contrarily, no one is looking to purchase any non-essential items, resulting in a hoarding of these items in stores.
Due to the disruption of the supply chain for necessities caused by transportation restrictions, demand has increased.
3. Brand and clientage protection
Due to a rise in anxiety, retailers must deal with enormous crowds. In addition, they need to stop any negative advertising brought on by maniacs who cause trouble. Additionally, they must maintain their reputation while adhering to hygienic guidelines.
Retailers must control the flow of income to cover salaries and other costs as there is less of a demand for their goods. They are looking for ways to plan in accordance with short-term liquidity.
5. Technology and security
It is crucial to keep up with the 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 purchasing behavior as they will be more likely to favor local brands over expensive brands. To ensure that transactions are secure and that customers have confidence, businesses must digitize every aspect of their operations.
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 need to spend money in places where there is a high conversion rate. They must remain conscious of the requirements of the new customers who depend on them. They must consider not only the current situation 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 present.
1. Frugal in Managing Finance
People all over the country will have a very difficult time managing their finances. Many of us have been hurt by the worldwide decline in employment, pay, interest rates, and installments. Retailers have been compelled by this circumstance to optimize costs in order to have sufficient cash flow and margin to get them through this stage.
2. Agile in sustainable thinking
No one was well-prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought with it a lot of uncertainty. They must be adaptable and flexible in the retail sector in order to accommodate new operational models. The selection of products must satisfy the requirement, and this is crucial.
3. Spruced up in supply chain
To play a proper part in the supply chain, retailers must exercise extreme caution. Demands in the supply chain are constantly changing, but retailers must be alert enough to deal with all types of supply. They must create a proper plan to handle all the logistics and inventory so that their company can continue to operate no matter what happens until the situation is under control. The company can make progress if it adopts digitized processes. For the business to meet customer demands, delivery-based business models must be implemented.
4. Tactful in Talent Management
You should develop your leadership skills if you want your company to succeed 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 precautions to avoid losing their current clientele. They will develop a level of trust in the services and have a happy shopping experience thanks to regular feedback and prompt responses to inquiries. For everyone’s safety, they must demonstrate that proper hygienic standards are being upheld.
6. Responsible in Regulatory and Legal Compliance
The state, federal, and local governments have passed a number of regulations and laws to guarantee the security of their constituents. The retailers will pay a high price for having to follow all the regulations and safety measures. 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 the responsibility of every citizen to support the government as the lockdown is gradually lifted.
Nobody can foresee what will happen to the sector as a result of the COVID-19’s effects because of how it is developing. Everyone should change their business practices and make their company flexible and agile in light of the pandemic. Everyone should be equipped to handle this situation if it arises again in the future. Every industry has been compelled to concentrate on digital means in order to have the tools necessary to respond. It is now up to the retailers to conduct a thorough analysis of the situation and devise strategies for overcoming all of these crises.
It is currently impossible 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 survive the current environment. Without a doubt, the future we can currently predict involves digitization!