The impact of pandemic COVID-19 has affected all of us globally. It has crashed economic growth. A lot of people have lost their jobs and have suffered physically, emotionally, and financially due to this crisis. In just a few months, this pandemic has changed the whole scenario of how business houses and industries are going to function in the future to come.
Let us today talk specifically about how the retailers in India are facing the heat of the crisis and are coping up to run the business. The impact of COVID-19 on retail is evident, and in addition to this, it has also impacted the health and movement of the people.
COVID-19 Effect on Retailers: Current, Coming, and Future Phase
The situation of the Indian retailers has worsened due to the pandemic. They are facing the challenge of coping with the situation now, next, and beyond. Right now, we are living in the “now” phase that has observed a halt in the business.
Nowadays, essential commodities like groceries, medicines, and other food shops are allowed to operate, but they face many problems. There are various issues the retailers deal with that include managing the customer demand, coping with supply chain problems, following social distancing norms, and maintaining proper hygiene of all the employees.
In this pandemic crisis, the essential commodities are impacted to a lesser extent as compared to the other products available in the market. The customers have lost their faith in the services and have stopped purchasing other things except for the essential goods.
When the industry steps in the “next” phase, they need to make proper strategies to get back in motion. The retail post COVID scenario will put forward a new challenge to adjust according to new business techniques.
The retail industry’s future strategies will provide a roadmap to flourish well in the market. It will provide the shopkeepers with the challenge to prove their mettle and adopt different and effective ways to run their business smoothly.
Issues for retailers in different sectors
1. Employee welfare and management
Right now, the critical issue faced by most of the retailers is managing the expenses of the employees. They have to ensure a proper healthy environment for their frontline personnel.
2. Trade and supply chain
With the fear of lockdown, the demand for essential supplies has been skyrocketed. On the contrary, no one is looking to buy any non-essential items leading to hoarding of these things in stores.
Restriction in transportation has disrupted the supply chain for essential items, which in result has elevated the demand.
3. Brand and clientage protection
Retailers have to face massive crowds due to an increase in panic. They also have to prevent any negative marketing due to nuisance created by some maniacs. Moreover, they need to maintain their image while keeping a check on the hygienic standards.
With less demand for products, retailers need to regulate the flow of income for salaries and other expenses. They are looking for measures to plan in accordance with short term liquidity.
5. Technology and security
With an exponential rise for online services, it is crucial to maintain the online traffic. With this, retailers have to look into cybersecurity issues. Also, they have to incorporate advanced technologies to ensure maximum no-contact dealing with customers.
Change in Consumer Behavior Due to COVID-19
A drastic shift can be observed in consumer behavior due to the pandemic ranging from the “now” phase to the “beyond” phase.
The consumers in the “now” stage are busy piling the stock for the essential commodities for the future so that they don’t feel scarcity later on. All the food and grocery shops cater to the needs of people residing in rural and urban areas.
When the consumers enter the “next” phase, then daily life will start pacing as it was earlier, but the customers will start doubting everything.
Observing today’s situation, we can quickly evaluate that there will be a shift in the consumer buying pattern as they will be more inclined towards purchasing local brands as compared to expensive brands. Businesses need to digitize themselves in every way, making it a secure transaction so customers can have faith.
Top 6 Effective Resilience strategies for Indian retailers
The impact of COVID-19 on the retail market is visible. The retailers need to adopt the new marketing strategies so they are well prepared for the “now”, “next”, and “beyond” phase to cope up with the market needs. The retail industry’s future strategies will decide their new consumers.
Retailers have to invest in areas that have a high conversion rate. They have to keep in mind the needs of the new consumers that are relying on them. They need not only think of the present scenario but have to think about the future and even beyond that when normalcy will eventually prevail.
If retailers adapt speed and agility in current times, they are surely going to reap the fruits in the future to come.
1. Frugal in Managing Finance
Financial management will be a very cumbersome task for people across the nation. Many of us have suffered across the dwindling jobs, salaries, interest payments, and installments all over the world. This situation has forced retailers to optimize the costs to have enough cash flow and margin so that they can survive through this phase.
2. Agile in sustainable thinking
With COVID-19 pandemic came along a lot of uncertainty, and no one was well prepared for it. For the retail industry, they need to be flexible and adapt to new operational models. The product assortment should meet the requirement and that is of utmost importance.
3. Spruced up in supply chain
Retailers have to be very cautious to play a proper role in the supply chain. The demands keep on fluctuating in the supply process, but the retailers have to be vigilant enough to tackle every sort of supply. They have to make a proper plan to deal with all the logistics and inventory so that their business can work in any situation until the whole situation comes under control. If the company adopts digitized ways, then it can help to achieve strides. The business has to adopt delivery-based models so that the customer demands can be fulfilled.
4. Tactful in Talent Management
If you want your business to flourish in the next few years, you should become a good leader. Frequently ask your employees about their well-being so that you build trust in the organization over time. Once everything comes back to normal, they only have to reskill themselves to meet the business’s changing demands.
5. Effective in Client Retention and Management
Retention is going to be the key. Retailers have to ensure not losing their old customers. Regular feedback and quick response to queries will build a level of trust not only in the services but give them a elated shopping experience. They need to reflect that proper hygiene levels are being maintained for everyone’s safety.
6. Responsible in Regulatory and Legal Compliance
There have been various rules and laws passed by the state, central, and local governments to ensure citizens’ safety. To abide by all the rules and safety measures will cost a lot to the retailers. It will also hamper their resources. But they have to cooperate with the government because these steps are only for the betterment of the situation. The lockdown is being lifted in various stages, so it becomes the responsibility of every citizen to support the government.
As the COVID-19 is evolving, no one can predict what is going to happen to the sector due to its effects. This pandemic is an alarming bell for everyone to mend business ways and make the business flexible and agile. If this situation happens in the future, everyone should be prepared enough to handle it. It has forced every industry to focus on the digital means so that they have proper facilities to fight back. This is the time for the retailers to analyze the scenario properly and make ways to stand above all these crises.
The impact of COVID-19 on retailers cannot be estimated yet. We can only hope that it ends soon. A flexible business strategy and well-equipped team with all the resources will definitely stand out and survive the current situation. Digitizations is unquestionably the future we can predict as for now!