5 Strategies for Retailers to Combat the Coronavirus Impact


April 21, 2020
6 MIN READ
Vinculum
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Vinculum
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If there is one thing that is trending globally, lately, it is the Coronavirus outbreak or COVID-19. It would be actually apt to mention it as one of the chronic pandemics considering the exponential spread and impact, globally. Today, more than 30 global countries are incessantly on guard to combat and contain the Coronavirus outbreak.

Countries across the globe are strengthening their healthcare infrastructure to identify Coronavirus positive cases, offer requisite treatment options as well as to prevent the spread of the virus. Staying indoors and adopting social distancing strategies are some of the precautionary measures to prohibit the outbreak.

Today’s Economic Situation

The COVID-19 situation is leading to somewhat irreversible changes in terms of rapid economic downturn and many more. Businesses irrespective of their size, scale, expertise are encountering the harsh effect of COVID-19. As most factories and production houses are shut, the supply and distribution chain are impacted rather substantially. The eCommerce, retail and fashion industry seem to get a significant hit.

Retailers, large and small are experiencing falling footfall across their brick-and-mortar and digital presence. There is absolutely zero footfall in retail shops, and malls with the disrupted travel and restrictions imposed upon venturing out from the safety of homes. Similarly, due to supply chain inadequacies, and anticipated delivery delays, retailers are experiencing a decline in their online sales as well.

While the end of all this chaos yet to seem far-fetched, retailers must take requisite measures to not only survive but thrive in the excruciating crisis times. Listed below are some of the key strategies that retailers must plan on leveraging, now.

Honest Communication & Marketing Strategy

The global crisis arising out of the Coronavirus has been trending lately. Disruptions in the personal, and professional lives, economic downturn, contingencies in supply chain management are common knowledge. And, today’s tech-savvy generation of customers are well aware of this, thanks to the wealth of digital knowledge. Though most customers are already aware of the lack of supplies and delivery delays, retailers must be prompt in communicating the same to the customers.

Now, you might think, would not it be a redundant effort? Well, it might be, but it will work effectively in keeping the existing customer base engaged and still loyal to the retail brand. Retailers must essentially highlight the potential delays to deliveries ahead of purchase and employ extra customer service representatives on board if needed to respond to customer queries pertaining to retail goods delivery.

Time to Tailor the Discounts Strategy

Offering massive discounts and offers has always been the blockbuster retail strategy. Indeed, it is the best way to entice potential customers as well as encourage existing customers for repeat purchases. Usually, March is considered to be a period of heavy discounting opportunities as most retailers leveraged this mid-season sale for stock clearance.

However, with the current state of COVID-19 and no end yet to be seen pertaining to the uncertainty, stocks and supplies are rather critical. With all these variables at play, retailers are less inclined to offer huge discounts as this might impact their revenue scale, too.

Though the scenario may seem less lucrative, retailers can still look for greener pastures. Despite the entire lockdown and stay-at-home situations,

  • Gen-Z consumers still go by the concept of instant gratification
  • Meeting their real-time expectations can rather present better avenues for retailers in these trying times of declining sales
  • They can still leverage the concept of Black Friday to garner greater sales and reestablish customer interaction, and engagement

Stay on the top of the mind of customers with new ideas

Retailers continue to experience the decline in customer footfall bot in physical and eCommerce stores. Given the uncertain situations due to COVID-19, customers might be reluctant to buy status-quo products and might refrain from ordering products online anticipating the shipping delays. However, the essential daily-usage products will always remain in demand. And, with stay-at-home approach being on full-fledged, customers will be more inclined to order daily essentials such as groceries, medicines, etc. online.

Retailers may make the most of this opportunity and tweak their product offerings to best suit customers’ current demands. Sourcing stock to meet customer demand is unarguably challenging in the recent times as factories/production houses continue to be quarantined. To cater to consumer demand, retailers need to think out of the box.

Getting the Future Assortment Right the First Time

Ordering appropriate volume of stock as per the anticipated demand is key for every retailer. It is also highly essential to avoid the scenarios of excess stock, dead stock and excess inventory replenishment. With this, retailers can also save a lot on costs in terms of stock procurement.

Retailers must regulate their operations and bring assortments to a minimum while the market is still struggling due to unsolicited order cancellations. Retailers that can rapidly downsize their orders and up-shift them again once the market has recovered stand a chance to be successful.

The supply chain is anyways disoriented leading to contingency situations. At this juncture, retailers may opt to expand their local/regional supplier network. This may come handy in saving outward and travel costs altogether. Local suppliers can also ensure on-time stock deliveries without contributing to the already grave health crisis.

Reconnect with Customers

In such trying times, retailers might lose sight of customer communication and it might not be treated as a top-notch requirement.

With falling footfall, budget constraints, inadequate stocks due to supply chain disruptions, the sense of disconnect from the customers’ front is also evident. And, keeping the existing customers engaged is essential.

Amidst lockdown, self-isolation, quarantine and social distancing, increased online activity by retailers can keep their existing customers engaged and might pull in a potential customer base. Besides, retailers can invest time in critical thinking and strategic initiatives to amplify their digital presence.

As home deliveries are expected to grow by leaps and bounds in the upcoming days, retailers may opt to promote shipping offers to gain a competitive edge over their counterparts.

Are you interested in more insights? Do reach out to the experts at Vinculum today!

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