Top 10 Lessons For Retailers From The COVID-19 Pandemic
By Multidev Technologies · PUBLISHED September 22, 2021
COVID-19 has created significant challenges for merchants all around the world. It may have given opportunities for some, but most of the sector has seen extraordinary volatility, complexity, and upheaval in recent months. Some stores thrive in their wake, while others strive to survive.
Few could have imagined that a pandemic would negatively impact the retail industry, but it did. Stores were shuttered, social distance purchasing became the norm, and larger businesses gained greater influence. You learned many lessons through the pandemic, but here are ten of the most important lessons you must follow in your retail sectors.
1. Robust Customer experience
The key success of retailing is an excellent customer experience. The business battlefield is not only pricing, product, or efficient supply chain anymore. It’s customer experience now. To preserve and build consumer connections, retailers must put in the extra effort. Recognize that just because someone buys from you once or twice doesn’t imply they’ll be a long-term customer. Strive to keep in touch with your consumers to develop brand loyalty. Ascertain that they do not switch brands when a new one emerges. Analyze the behavior of your customer. A multidimensional view of your consumer is necessary.
Putting safety first: When the epidemic struck, we all had to work fast to put in safety measures to keep staff and the general public safe. The safety criteria must be modified when the limitations are lifted, and the merchants have more freedom to run their business. From contactless delivery and payments to delivery drones, there have been some incredible improvements in technology and procedures to adapt. Many customers want a hassle-free purchasing experience with fewer touchpoints and simpler access.
When clients visit your shop, your goal should be to build a long-term relationship with them and keep them returning to your store. When physical stores had to close their shops, many businesses lost face-to-face contact with their customers. As a result, whether they liked it or not, the attention shifted to the digital sphere.
2. Offer experts help
If you sell a niche-specific product, the customers who come to your store are likely to be well-informed before they arrive. Your professionals should have a comprehensive understanding of your product line and the benefits of related products. As customers, we enjoy hearing from individuals who are more knowledgeable than we are. It also aids in the dispelling or confirmation of any reservations we may have regarding a product. However, this is something you can only receive if you buy locally and in person. The amount of experience per square foot will become a crucial statistic for retail success.
If you can provide professional support to browsers in your shop to show extra value, you are far more likely to turn them into customers and less likely to lose them in the online competition.
3. Omnichannel Retailing
Today, it’s more crucial than ever for retailers to provide clear messages and seamless experiences on a chosen platform for the consumer. Consumers are progressively turned to e-commerce , start shopping online, looking for and accumulating evidence before deciding on purchases.
Recognize that customer expectations have shifted, and retailers who fail to satisfy them are no longer considered competitors.
Retailers utilize social media not only for marketing and promotion but also to engage with customers actively. Retailers may use surveys, hashtags, live events, freebies, and unique products to get customers to connect with them. Customers utilize social media to submit feedback and discuss their preferences so that retailers may also benefit from this.
Don’t forget about brick and mortar. To reach your consumer, you must understand the right mix of digital and e-commerce.
4. AI in retail
Artificial intelligence will experience a breakthrough in retail sectors. It will increasingly be used by merchants to power various aspects of the retail and e-commerce experience.
Learn how artificial intelligence (AI) may benefit your business. AI is utilized throughout the retail sector’s operations and service, from production to post-sales customer support.
Retailers that use AI in their business may influence current purchases and forecast future purchases to guide shopkeepers regularly and highly customized towards the appropriate items. We will see increased AI adoption in 2021. Retailers must understand where AI fits into their business.
5. Digital technology in retail stores
When merchants look at shopper’s behavior, it’s apparent that things have been changing significantly. Retailers must comprehend and respond to these developments. Technology has facilitated information consumption and products or services for consumers and sharing of their experiences. New expectations for customers have produced a new world of shopping.
Customers are now in control of their own destiny thanks to new digital technology. Apps like Snapchat, WeChat, and WhatsApp demonstrate that we rapidly approach a reality where everything occurs in real-time. The inevitable result is that people need immediate satisfaction. Digitalization has had a significant influence on customer service.
So, look at your technology externally. The most robust approach to successfully deploy technology for many organizations is to go beyond their own four walls. Accept the new retail world; it is here. Explore the contemporary retail’s transformational tools and technology in your sector.
6. Authenticity and transparency of your brand
Customers want transparency because they are more interested in the ethical standards of the businesses from whom they buy and what they purchase. Customers nowadays, more technologically knowledgeable than marketers, are also a lot more interested in authenticity.
To attract consumers today, companies must stand up for something and constantly reflect that message from top leadership to front-line employees across the organization.
Retailers need to be honest and transparent and also be smart and reliable in communicating their brand’s core values; otherwise, consumers might shift to a different brand.
Stay faithful to your brand’s core value. Authenticity and transparency are what customers desire. They want to know exactly from whom they purchase.
7. Analyze Current Trends
Analyze current consumer demands and trends and rapidly develop appropriate campaigns to meet those expectations. Your marketing efforts must be relevant to current needs to draw people to your retail business. This is the must-follow approach for retailers today and in the following years if they want to stay in business.
This year, retailers who have done well have rapidly realized the need to be forward-thinking, adaptable, and ready to respond to their customer’s requirements. Keep up to date on what Eastern merchants are doing. Advances in the East might foreshadow how shopping in the West will evolve. The sooner you catch on to new trends, the sooner your retail store will start making money.
8. Strategic Partnerships and collaborations
Retailers can partner with other platforms, reach out to vendors and use those ties to obtain special deals and arrangements, or engage with comparable firms to share promotions.
You may want to consider blending branding with co-op marketing, such as collaborating with other retailers like sporting goods stores or through joint marketing. This win-win approach is also economical.
The present moment is the ideal time to be creative and try something new. Even short-term arrangements may evolve into long-term commitments. Small measures taken now to assist you in getting through difficult times might later develop into a competitive edge.
9. End of Points-Based Loyalty Cards
The meaning of loyalty has changed over time. The consumer must be compensated immediately, rather than waiting until they have collected enough points to receive something. Clients will be delighted with daily freebies. Instead of using a point system, consider using perks that add value, such as coupons and discounts.
As the market grows more competitive, retailers are looking for products that do not compete with online competitors. The brand and demographics determine the product’s premium, customization, or exclusiveness.
In light of the current trend, retailers around the world are keen to provide virtual trials to their consumers. Regional players are being pushed to restructure their offers in this way by the current premium trend.
10. Emphasizing micro-fulfillment and Smart delivery
Consumers want it now, and they can get it now with online shopping, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In Australia, Google is also putting forward drone delivery. You may shop using an app and collect things at your business. During the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers progressively turned to e-commerce to obtain the items they needed.
Customers have got used to ordering through mobile and anticipating local delivery; therefore, retailers should consider seeking third-party local delivery partners or perhaps designing their own local delivery apps that give shops a fully self-managed option.
Retailers should also beef up their website and encourage online product sales. Consider a curbside pickup for those fast pickups.
With the post-traumatic effects of social distancing measures, repeated curfews, and zoning restrictions on the line, it’s clear that retail digitalization isn’t going away any time soon. To improve their touchless technology and virtual management tools, industry leaders are copying Industry 4.0 solutions. 39% of agile-ready firms have adopted a smart hub strategy to strengthen their seamless supply-chain management operations. Approximately 25% are speeding up automation initiatives to avoid workforce shortages caused by COVID-19 and zero-touch regulations.
The word “acceleration” is at the top of their priority list. Retail 5.0 -includes interconnectivity, Big Data, robotics, AI, business automation, virtual reality, and advanced MarTech solutions. These were already assisting companies in transforming their omnichannel operations in areas such as customer journey mapping, instant product discovery, price management, predictive sourcing, and real-time decision making are all essential ingredients of success in the data-driven age.
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