The image of an empty Robson street turned into street art, is well known for street shopping in Downtown Vancouver, BC. #MakeArtWhileApart #OnRobson
Many, street shopping and malls that bring most of the foot traffic and providing the best customer experience will no longer be optional. This will have a long-term effect on retailers and brands facing an overwhelming number of transient difficulties around health and safety, cash flow, customer demand, and marketing.
The COVID-19 pandemic keeps on constraining retail locations to close, flagging an uncommon interruption of business. Many major retailers, such as JC Penny, Aldo, J. Crew, Papyrus, Neiman Marcus, Gap, and others have already filed for bankruptcy and could go bankrupt in the next year to come.
Doug Stephens, the founder of consulting agency Retail Prophet, said “people are looking for an experience when they go to any type of business – bricks and mortar ones or otherwise”. “You have to be able to promise consumers one of two things: you’re either going to promise them time well-saved or time well-spent,” he said on CTVNews.ca.
Once we get past this pandemic and we will overcome it. We will rise in a totally different world from the one we left before the pandemic. To guarantee a better future where organizations not only sustain, but also flourish, it is censuring to predict what a post-pandemic world will look like, and afterward start to change to what the new world would be like.
The Covid-19 pandemic will forever change customer behavior
Customers' perspectives and buying habits are changing, many of these new ways will remain post-pandemic. While people are taking full measures practicing physical distancing and personal hygiene, they are taking advantage of the new digital world to stay connected, being innovative, and developing new skills. Some are even taking complete precautions by looking for other ways to earn extra cash. Even during the post-pandemic, many organizations will let their employees continue to work from home to cut down expenses.
People are changing their behavior and during the crisis can differentiate between the need versus the want. Every nation, organization, industry, area, business, individual, and all parts of the worldwide economy are contrarily affected by COVID-19.
Customers are more worried about covering the basics of paying the rent, groceries, medications, and utilities. This sort of downturn incites need-driven spending and rightfully makes shoppers more cautious spenders.
Once the pandemic is over, shoppers will emerge to the new economic world, changing online businesses in significant ways.
Online purchasing and brand loyalty
Well before the pandemic, many product categories like apparel, beauty, books, electronics, and food were already in the transition to online purchasing. Due to the COVID crisis, people around the globe are being asked to practice physical distancing, many customers have now shifted their grocery purchasing to online services. The family who is used to online purchasing will likely continue using these services even after the pandemic.
With this new reality, buyers are probably going to be more germophobic than ever before. Mass gatherings of food tasting and even food court purchasing will become less mainstream. Purchasers might be less open to in-store food examining and increasingly reluctant to utilize open touch screens or keypads. Networking for a new product or food lunches might be less engaging, which will force retailers to build up no-contact client encounters with an accentuation on cleanliness.
As customers are being confronted with the world crisis, out of panic and fear they are no longer brand loyal with brands that neglect to satisfy their customers’ emotional needs during difficult times.
“Moment marketing does little to develop a brand or give consumers permission to interact with them. Brands must have a purpose by producing goods and services that improve the lives of consumers and enhance the quality of life. With today’s savvy consumer, it’s imperative that brands focus on how to better interact with them, how to build stronger relationships, and how to ensure that those relationships generate trust and meaningful engagement over time.” Said Armando Azarloza, President of The Axis Agency.
Brands must start to connect with customers authentically and add value to their emotional needs, as customers have become wiser about their spending habits and aware of their lifestyle choices. Customers incline toward those brands that give them the incitement they are searching for.
While quarantined at home, customers are becoming more creative and developing new skills. Those that are used to buying coffee 3 times a day or eat out are now starting to make their own coffee and have learned how to cook at home.
Customers, that are realizing the value of their money may continue to do so after the quarantine is over. There will be many shifts that will take place after the quarantine, people that have taken virtual yoga classes, biking, in house workout equipment, may not resume their gym membership.
With the rapid changes in the beauty industry, cosmetic retailers and beauty services will begin to face the challenges of regular customer databases or establishing long-term relationships.
Many customers have already begun to learn their own beauty tips and tricks. They can style their own hairstyle and buy mani-pedi tools that can be done at home. People will start to eliminate some services and start to question the sanitary conditions of the salon. Customers who have already stocked up on brands like Dove, Clean & Clear, Neutrogena, Maybelline, and other cosmetics will first go through their own inventory.
The fashion industry is constantly changing with new styles and trends every season. In order to survive the economic crisis, fashion companies must protect their workers, employees, and customers. This is the time to remove unnecessary expenses and costs, in order to plan for reinvestment.
Given the goal and the objectives of making fashion a sustainable industry and the requirements to meet them, the industry's advancement has been moderately slow.
“Fashion companies are not implementing sustainable solutions fast enough to counterbalance negative environmental and social impacts of the rapidly growing fashion industry. According to current forecasts the world population will exceed 8.5 billion people by 2030, and global garment production will increase by 63%,” reports The Global Fashion Agenda. Therefore, the current crisis is putting both the industry and the planet in danger.
“The fashion and luxury industries together are the most negatively impacted of all in consumer goods,” says Sarah Willersdorf, global head of luxury.
The best thing to draw from this crisis is that we as people understand that our personal actions have social effects. “So while the virus is not directly related to sustainability, it is going to increase the focus on it,” says Sarah Willersdorf.
“For the next wave of employees, this is going to be non-negotiable. They will make choices on where to work, just like consumers do about which brands to buy. Today, both consumers and employees are looking for purpose-built companies,” she says.
Sustainable development will have a long-term positive impact on companies in the retail industry. A key point is that new business models that confirm sustainable practices will have advantages over other conventional action plans.
“Sustainable business practices can uncover new revenue streams, reduce risk, and lead to better business models,” says Sarah Willersdorf.
"It’s only by working together that we will be able to deliver a systemic shift in the way our industry tackles urgent sustainability challenges and proactively design a future we can all believe in." — Nick Beighton
Writer - Gargie Kejriwal