With the Covid-19, retail has closed its doors. The virus has led us to totally change our social behavior and stop the world economy. Today, as consumers, we have adopted a different consumption and relationship model. When we go back to the exit we should follow new rules and we don’t know when and how we could go back to the old life. On the supply side, companies will face a demand that will start slowly and will probably require different things.
Financial resources will be limited. In these few lines there is a first hypothesis of what retail strategies to adopt after Covid-19. The value system of the Brand will be essential to bring the consumer closer. Investments in communication cannot be overlooked. The product must be distinguishable. Distribution must be organized to support the Brand and to maintain its consumers. Managers and staff in general will require a lot of specialization and expertise.
Covid-19: Which Retail Strategies?
Some first Thoughts.
I believe that none of us could imagine such a phenomenon. In a few weeks, a virus has caused dozens of deaths. To stop it, we have frozen our societies, blocking the world economy. Our way of life has changed radically.
We live in isolation, we fear others, we rightly believe any individual to be a potential carrier of the virus. Today we already miss our habits, friends, outdoor outings, our recreational and sporting activities. We miss shopping, eating and drinking in company in some of our favorite places, travel, socializing in general to which we were accustomed. Everything is over for the moment and we don’t know when it will return ,
The first sales figures give us some interesting indications. Consumption of food raw materials is increasing. We probably rediscover the taste of homemade bread and pizza, the freshly baked desserts. We do not give up asking our trusted local to deliver good ice cream, desserts, local products and products that satisfy our palate at home. We like them equally even if at home.
We can’t even go out for our sporting activities and therefore even the most wary of them approach technology and start practicing in the company of some instructor who gives commands through some App.
We discovered that meetings can be held or some customers can be met with video conferences and we have connected with different applications.
This way of life will accompany us for a long time and if we observe what is happening in China we realize that even when we start going out we should stick to rules that will imply new behaviors, new ways of living our sociality and our consumption.
There will probably also be different places that we consider safe, where we would like to go shopping or have some drinks with some friends.
Moving on to analyze the supply side, we can assume that after such a long period of activity, a slow and difficult recovery will follow. This fact will further complicate the path of companies that will resume their business.
Companies will be forced to adopt a different management and development model, both to respond to a lower demand that will grow very slowly, and to accurately manage costs and investments.
It is too early to imagine exactly what the next scenarios related to the economic and political context will be. It is difficult to predict what the new consumer trends will be and what new behaviors will characterize the consumer after this war.
However, we can share the thoughts of those who say that the reopening and the subsequent journey will require companies to adopt management models that foresee a strong attention to costs and investments.
With regard to post-Covid-19 retail strategies we can think that some changes that had already been planned in the market will have to be accelerated. Let’s briefly see some hints on what may be the interventions in retail to be adopted after to exit the crisis caused by Covid-19
What to do?
- Strengthen the values of the Brand that are closest to the needs of today and the near future such as Safety, Credibility, Respect for the Environment, Attention to the social, Tradition, Research and Development.
- Communicate with the consumer effectively. It will be necessary to keep investments in communication high by efficiently using the new channels.
- Focus its offer on the product, not on the set of products, for which there are distinctive elements that make it recognizable, innovative and competitive.
How to do it?
- To have a distribution model that effectively integrates the various channels, encoding all the information to and from the consumer. An omnichannel system that is not designed only to distribute services, but to measure and optimize the value of the commercial offer and to defend its customers.
- Select a physical network made up of sales points located in high traffic commercial contexts. The shop should aim not only to sell, but to give strong visibility to the brand and products.
- Create an interdisciplinary work team, prepared for change, and equipped with the skills necessary to face new challenges through analysis and training courses. Finally, we should focus more on quality than on the number of collaborators. This will be possible if new organizational models and support technologies that aim to improve performance efficiency are adopted.
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