The crisis unleashed by the global pandemic of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has created a scenario of great volatility that has fully impacted the retail sector. number france With physical stores closed and much of the consumption seized by confinement and uncertainty, retail brands face an unprecedented situation that will require an agile response adjusted to the post-coronavirus era.The ‘new normal’ facing the retail sector
– E-commerce will be strengthened as a sales channel
The social distancing measures have generated a transfer of demand to the online channel . If we take the Chinese market as a reference, the first to suffer the coronavirus epidemic, sales in the retail sector in January and February of this year fell by 20.5% according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics of China . The online channel did not make up for the loss of global sales in the same period, but it did resist the impact better and recorded figures similar to those of 2019 according to Statista . However, many e-commerce have also shown weaknesses in the face of such a sudden increase in demand, especially in mass consumption. Retailers have to focus their efforts on correcting deficiencies that have become evident such as lack of staff, delays in order management or the desynchronization between the information on the web and the available stock.On the other hand, the commitment to omnichannel will give a new meaning to establishments, which will have more and more relevance in the management of online orders . The Click & Collect and Click & Car formulas improve the profitability of e-commerce, since they make it easier for the user to inquire or buy in the safety of their home and to be able to collect their order at their nearest store with minimal physical contact.
– The retail shopping experience, more marked than ever by technology
Designing an optimal online shopping experience was already a priority for many retailers, but now it has become paramount. Tools such as online chats, customer service on social networks or augmented reality apps boost distance sales and improve brand perception. In fact, the download and use of retail apps during lockdown has equaled the levels recorded in the Black Friday 2019 period according to Poq .
Another point that will be crucial in an environment of high online competition is the search for comfort and maximum personalization of the shopping experience . For example, according to a Nielsen survey , four out of ten users already use online subscriptions to automate the purchase of recurring products and 36% plan to use these types of services in the near future. The communication of values takes on a new role in retail messagesAt times of inflection like today , every business move will have lasting repercussions on brand perception. It is therefore advisable to seek contact with users by designing marketing strategies that use empathy as a catalyst. In addition to safety and hygiene, values such as sustainability, transparency (for example, regarding the origin of products) and effective customer service will be the only factors that will be able to compete against the lure of the lowest price in the post-coronavirus era.Retail businesses need to rebuild their brand territories . This requires a thorough analysis of what marketing strategies are to be followed to seduce customers who will not be the same after the pandemic. It is possible that the first impulse will be based on offering promotions to dispose of the stock and reactivate sales, but it is necessary to assess what impact it will have on margins and on consumer perception of the brand in the medium / long term .
– Data analysis, crucial to act in environments of uncertainty
Big data exploitation techniques are already marking the fight against the coronavirus as shown by the initiatives to support research that Google gulf email list has launched . In the field of retail marketing, data analysis allows brands to act confidently in changing situations. For example, thanks to social listening techniques , it is possible to monitor user activity on social networks to control the conversation around the brand , but also to identify purchase patterns that lead to business opportunities.The challenge of planning strategies for an unknown scenario
The coronavirus crisis has created a very complex scenario for the retail sector. In changing circumstances like the current ones, retailers are forced to continually rethink their business and marketing strategies in a planning that can no longer be linear and static, but cyclical and flexible . The initial ignorance should give way to research and the articulation of responses to the crisis, a recovery strategy and, finally, the analysis of the whole as a learning tool. The real challenge in this process is the speed at which it needs to be designed and executed.