[Covid 19 Impact] 'Future of Retail is Omni-channel, Contactless and Tech-Driven' say Indian retailers

Technological interventions in-store is the way to win consumer trust.
[Covid 19 Impact] ‘Future of Retail is Omni-channel, Contactless and Tech-Driven’ say Indian retailers

Retailers Association of India (RAI), the apex body of retailers in India, as a part of its series of webinars, organized a Webinar titled ‘Overcoming Covid-19 – Reinventing Retail’. The session was themed around the reopening of stores post-lockdown and how the industry is going to meet the demands of the new consumer in the new normal. The webinar session looked at how retail is going to change post-lockdown, and helped retailers with guidelines on how to sustain in this new consumption ecosystem.

Here are some key takeaways:

Change in Consumer Behaviour

·         Less footfall but high conversion in malls at least for the next six months.

·         Consumers will avoid crowded stores and will prefer low exposure, contactless shopping.

·         Hygiene-level of stores will be the key differentiator for customers.

·         Consumers will get carry bags even for buying Apparel and CDIT.

·         Consumer will spend less money but more than usual on essential products.

·         Consumers will focus on safety and hygiene and prefer brands that offer this even if it means they have to pay more. As a result, a lot of established and practiced brands will get a boost up. The confidence in brands will become much higher.  

·         Shopping trips will be less but more focused. This will lead to more planned purchases instead of impulse buys. Stocking will be a new habit.  

·         Sustainability, Safety, Origin and Trust are going to be the themes driving consumer behaviour going forward.

Effect on the Industry

·         High-velocity products are going to be stored in greater quantity by retailers.

·         Continuity of operations are going to be extremely critical.

·         More unique brand partnerships will emerge.

·         There’s going to be a hike in Big Data investments.

·         Mass media marketing is going to go down.

·         Established brands will be reinforced and get a consumption boost from this crisis.

·         The trend of community shopping is going to be accelerated.

·         Technology will become cheaper.

·         Low-exposure, contactless consumption is going to become the new norm. This will lead to a widespread use of technologies like magic mirrors that support touchless shopping.

·         Omni-channel will become way of life.

·         Secondary packages are going to be reconfigured. Flexibility around that will enable better stocking and larger distribution on the retailer’s end.

 Guidelines for Retailers

·         Focus on efficiency and cash flow.

·         Look at your communication models and tweak them, both, internally and externally.

·         Rethink your distribution.

·         Technological interventions in-store is the way to win consumer trust.

·         Quick response from retailers will determine how much market share they capture.

·         The winners would be those who continue to have a larger network.

·         The budget in the short term will shift towards in-shop. The focused shopping trips need to be capitalized on and there needs to be greater basket penetration.

·         Training vendors and employees in digital marketing is going to be the breakthrough skilling exercise.

·         Securing employee safety is the only way to show customer safety.

·         The smaller interventions like employee temperature checks, will be key in overcoming consumer hesitancy.

·         Work on realigning supply chain; focus on multiple vendors.

·         EOQs and the stock keeping will have to undergo a change


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