The coronavirus pandemic affects all sectors of the economy. Above all, the pandemic affects the daily life of people and, in particular, the retail trade, which is undergoing a massive restructuring in many countries in recent months. Companies are still competing for the attention of buyers, but now the competition has been taken on a completely different form.
How to return the habit of people to go to retail stores after the pandemic? That is the question asked by many retailers around the world. Here are some advises and several tactics that can lead you on the road to recovery that not only retailers but also manufacturers can use.
Streamline supply chain
In preparation for the resumption of sales, it is worth revising the entire supply process, taking into account the new realities. Unfortunately, the transportation restrictions, sanitary control requirements, and the online transactions of business processes that the pandemic has brought into our lives have complicated the process of concluding deals and transporting goods for many manufacturers.
In order not to encounter problems at the stage when the goods are already delivered to the stores, you need to calculate in advance all logistic risks and reconsider relations with suppliers. It is possible that you will have to spend additional time and resources on this, but the risks associated with supply disruptions are usually much higher than the costs of their management.
Establish omnichannel dialogue with the client
As you read earlier, modern retail is built on a competent combination of offline and online sales. Therefore, online sales should be considered not as a “killer” of retail, but as one of the channels that can attract buyers to you. In addition to its direct function, the online store can serve as a platform for informing your customers about promotions and new products in retail stores and light up the interest in offline purchases.
This approach is especially relevant for goods that the consumer traditionally prefers to purchase in retail. These products primarily include car parts and components, cosmetics and perfumes and building materials.
Get closer to the customer
Many analysts predict an explosive growth of the D2C (Direct to Customer) model amid the crisis. This marketing model implies the exclusion of intermediaries in the form of retail and a complete transition to direct sales of the company to the customer via the Internet.
The British portal Retail Times recently published an article that predicts market experts that most SMEs will finally go into direct sales through social networks, marketplaces or their own online stores.
For larger brands that are not ready to completely abandon the offline presence, this model can be considered as another version of the omnichannel approach, in which the role of the offline store can be reduced to the function of the showroom.
Show that you care for customers
Increased attention to personal safety and hygiene is a trend that will continue after the pandemic. Manufacturers who are able to respond to this trend have a better chance of customer loyalty. First of all, this concerns the automation of the shopping process and the introduction of self-service technologies. Also, the actions of the staff when selling your product are of great importance: maintaining a safe distance or using protective equipment.
Automation of all processes
The main task for many retailers is to reduce the number of close contacts. To achieve this goal, all possible technologies are used to automate the processes that were previously performed by people.
Since the coronavirus epidemic has significantly hit the well-functioning supply chains, retailers are striving to at least mitigate the consequences of the epidemic, and at best to establish a business in such a way as to make a profit in the current environment.
Create a unique Customer Experience
It’s not a secret that one of the main advantages of an offline store is the ability to create emotions and impressions for visitors, to interact with them. After the quarantine, you’ll have to make even more effort to create a unique experience for the visitor with the product. Product testing, online promotions and innovative merchandising will be more important than ever.
Professionalism of employees
In conditions when the same product can be bought in different places and even online at approximately the same price, the professionalism of the sales staff becomes paramount in the sale. Even with the most competent leadership in the distribution network, the buyer has contact with the seller, who for him represents the entire trading company. Don’t neglect that when choosing staff.
Retailing is changing
In general, the understanding of what the retail should look like is changing now. Think of it is a method through which you can get what you need.
Many retailers have changed their work so dramatically that there is very little left of the traditional understanding of it. Still, whatever they do, and whatever changes they are making, they should always think about their customers, their staff and of course storing the goods. The national warehousing can help them with it a lot.
During these times and after the pandemic is over, retailers will have to revise almost all aspects of sales: from product positioning to logistics and training sales personnel in order to work in new conditions and recover. In addition, they will need to find strong arguments to motivate the consumer to return to retail shopping. In the long term, the winner will be the one who is able to take a comprehensive approach to sales optimisation and see new perspectives for himself.