Irecwire.com hosted the first edition of IReC web series titled as ‘The new normal of retail’ as a part of its on-going ‘Coping with Covid-19’ series on 20th May. The first keynote address of the day was from Bijou Kurien, Member- Strategy Board, L Catterton Asia.
In his keynote address he stressed that over next two-three years a lot changes will be accelerated, a lot of investment in technology will be done, many offline and online retailers will turn omnichannel to beat the challenges of their respective businesses. Lockdown has initiated many behavioural changes when it comes to shopping. Among the uncertaintly one thing is sure that things will be not same again in retail..
Following are key findings from his keynote speech..
Convenience will be paramount
Digital consumption has increased drastically because of pro longed lockdown. This crisis has inculcated the habit of buying online. People are now more confident than ever in executing digital transaction. Therefore, there is a change in habits that retailers need to match up now.
Shopping is changed today even when physical stores are opening up. People have become comfortable shopping online the trend is expected to continue at least for next few months. For example, grocery market which is hardly 3% online and remaining is served through modern retail or individual kirana stores. However, in this pandemic many consumers were migrating to onretail and in many cases local kirana shops to get their products.
Even entertainment is consumed online simply because of ease of convenience. Today, the subscription base of Netflix actually jumped during the period of lockdown. In fact, many production houses are now shifting towards OTT for their new releases to start the revenue. How many people will be comfortable in going to movie theatres once they will open up? We need to see..
Work from home (WFH) is becoming a popular among big corporate and government organisations. Therefore, retailers dealing in apparel, accessories and footwear need to re haul their product offerings as the needs of office goers are different now.
For example, facial masks are becoming the part of regular dressing. Since, half your face will cover therefore there might be a low spent on products related to lips might shifted to eye makeup products. This trend is already prevalent in many Middle Eastern countries because of their dressing style they follow.
Hyperlocal commerce will be boosted
This lockdown period was challenging for online retailers as well as offline therefore there was a realisation of co-existence. On one hand, online retailers have realised the fact that lastmile is still a challenge that they need to figure out while expanding further in next few months.
Moreover, the scarcity of migrant labourers who otherwise might be a part of their delivery squad is not expected to get back to job soon. Therefore, coming few months will be challenging for them. They might need to partner with offline retailers to take their products closer to customers. Just like, Amazon.com did with wholefoods in US. Reliance is doing similar thing with Jio Mart with the help of Facebook and Watsapp application. We may see many more such partnerships taking place in the near future.
On other hand, offline retailers have realised that customers are not coming back to stores soon. So they need to create a model through where merchandises can been showcased to consumer and customer can seamlessly transact on same.
In pursuit of same, several hybrid models like endless aisle, click and collection and vice-versa are expected to gain popularity the time to come. Likewise, the usage of new age technologies like AI and predictive analytics will be bigger than ever.,