Retailers worldwide are grappling with the appropriate response to the coronavirus for their employees, customers, and businesses. For many, it is shaping into a once-in-a-generation test of business continuity planning, the elasticity of the digital ecosystem and supply chain flexibility.
COVID-19 changing consumer sentiment and lifestyle has also hastened the adaptation of technology in this industry. Being online and having a robust backend isn’t optional anymore for any retailer. Every retailer is adopting digital ways faster and is investing in technology to improve the quality of service. COVID 19 has made buying virtually more real than ever, and retailers have started looking at innovative ways of improving sales, such as providing virtual trial rooms and video-based sales calls. With this, the integration between offline and online retail is likely to grow further. Businesses are exploring integration strategies to enrich the customer value proposition and/or reduce costs. The focus is now on creating a unified shopping experience for customers across different marketing/sales channels.
5 things that every retailer needs for their business post covid
1) E-commerce Store
Traditional shopping has become difficult. People are increasingly inclined to shop online. The fact that consumers were already embracing Amazon and other online retailers with open arms has made the transition of shifting the businesses online considerably easier for retailers. Early estimates indicated that the global e-commerce sector would grow by 256%. While that’s a substantial development, businesses didn’t originally account for the overall percentage of their business that this would represent. At the time, estimates suggested e-commerce would “only” account for 17.5% of all retail sales – that its traditional evolution would move alongside traditional sales channels – but COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown drastically changed this.
Now, e-commerce has become a central, primary channel for many businesses. What’s more, there’s a lot of evidence that, while these current figures won’t last forever, the overall shift to e-commerce means these figures will stay higher than last year’s expected projections.
This is the new normal: e-commerce is a vital part of business and will continue to be so, even when shops reopen in full. Consumer habits have forever been changed and e-commerce will continue to be a premier channel for many needs and wants. Users now know to look online first before making and purchase.
Change in consumer behaviour
E-commerce, like retail, is a sector dictated by consumers and their preferences. With COVID-19, the evolution of e-commerce was thrust into the limelight as other methods became unavailable. However, even then, we’re able to see some clear preferences and trends that can’t be ignored. With other options not available – or simply not safe or convenient – we’ve seen many demographics move to e-commerce channels.
How e-commerce businesses can prepare for the future
- Make your online store user-friendly
- Emphasize great customer website service
- Prioritize convenience for the customer
- Provide a 360-degree view of the product & relevant as well as adequate information.
- Prepare for an online unlimited inventory
- Provide smooth & easy payment option & e-wallets
Based on the benefits of e-commerce to consumers and businesses, as well as the e-commerce statistics, it’s clear that online selling is the way forward. But that’s not to say that physical stores will die out after coronavirus.
2) Social Media Presence
Today, more than any other time in recent history, social media platforms have become the main source of information surpassing print and other digital media platforms. Further the current situation (COVID-19) has acted as a catalyst to the ever-increasing rise in social media adoption. More and more people are relying on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to stay up-to-date.
The Key Role of Social Media Marketing
Social media has become an indispensable component in our daily life. Home-bound with little to do — Covid-19 has led to a spike in online media consumption. The businesses that will survive these uncertain times and continue to thrive afterwards are those that remain agile. As such, your business will need to respond fast and effectively to the unique challenges presented.
This period presents a rare and unique opportunity to use social media marketing at its best; to connect and bond with customers in meaningful ways. Customers are looking to engage with brands that do more than just sell. In this regard, community support is crucial. Practical support such as providing food or sanitizing equipment to those in need will render a human face to your business.
Undeniably, social media marketing also provides you with a platform to brand, sell, and market your products and services. But, this should not be the end-all-be-all for social media.
How Should Business Owners Adopt Their Social Media Marketing Strategies Post COVID-19?
Business owners ought to relate their social media marketing to the ongoing situation. As much as customers don’t want to get reminded about the pandemic wherever they look, brands that ignore the situation seem misplaced. For example, use social media to deliver helpful messages and engage in valuable conversations with your audience. This can be through providing helpful information, advice, or sharing light-hearted social media posts. This will help you resonate well with your customers and allow you to come out of the crisis much stronger.
The increase in social media usage is bound to continue long after lockdown restrictions are lifted. It will remain key in determining how businesses engage with their customers going forward.
3) Digital Inventory – digital inventory is a digital file management system that offers a centralised virtual storage place for your 3D designs and makes them available on demand.
Benefits of digital inventory
Digital inventory management allows you to track inventory with powerful, yet simple software. A digital inventory management system makes it easy to keep tabs on how much food you have in stock, offering you many benefits including increased efficiency and a decreased workload.
Key Advantages of Digital Inventory
1) A Digital Inventory Management System Simplifies Purchasing
2) A Digital Inventory System Saves Time
3) A Digital Inventory Management System Minimizes Data Entry Errors
4) Client Relationship Management: The crisis of Covid-19 has strongly impacted certain aspects of customer relationship & experience.
A new consumer profile has emerged since the Covid-19 crisis began. This consumer has three characteristics:
1 ) Price sensitivity
The study shows that consumer price sensitivity has increased to varying degrees depending on the country. Price sensitivity is at its strongest in countries that provided households with little financial assistance, such as Italy. In countries where measures were implemented to support households (furlough for example), price sensitivity has not increased to the same extent.
2) The digitalisation of the customer journey
The Covid-19 crisis and lockdowns have led to a digitalisation of the customer journey, customer relationship and, more generally, the customer experience. Consumers have had to become familiar with digital channels and/or increase their use. This is particularly notable in the retail industry for example, where online channels have momentarily replaced offline channels.
3) Responsible consumers
The Covid-19 crisis has developed consumer awareness of the social and societal consequences of their consumption. More and more consumers want to consume in a more ethical, responsible and environmentally friendly manner.
Relationships with clients have become more important than ever due to the pandemic & it is the duty of the business to provide value for consumer’s money.
5) AR Experience
AR has seen a quicker pandemic-era adoption, as the experience that best lends itself to a larger scale of consumers. Multiple brands have implemented AR in their e-commerce strategies. Companies that have replaced 2-dimensional product displays with 3D demonstrations are benefiting from a 40% higher conversion rate. Still hesitant to hazard an in-person store visit, customers are enjoying the ability to better envision their purchase options.
Companies are picking up steam in the AR world, taking a more personalized, interactive approach to marketing. A great example is the fast proliferation of branded social media filters on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. Effectively, these are like personalized flyers—consumers see their face embedded in the ad. According to research by Invesp, 70% of consumers expect to be more loyal to brands that are employing AR strategies, and company spend toward AR is expected to climb.
What to keep in mind while Integrating AR for your business?
Make it shareable
The most effective AR tool is collaborative and social. Make it shareable so customers can engage other people in the experience. You’ll also want to add an element of gamification — we’re discovery-fueled creatures who enjoy puzzles and adventures.
2. Let consumers explore
For a more well-rounded approach, focus on the end goal instead of the immediate task. Let’s say a customer wants to buy a couch. The customer’s broader goal is likely decorating a space, so how can you creatively tie other elements into the AR experience?
Perhaps you could partner with a reusable wallpaper brand to show how the couch still anchors the room even if you decide to change the look of your walls. Regardless of the situation, the trick is to increase the contents of the basket without feeling overly pushy.
3. Think of AR like a road map, not a project
AR should be personalized to your brand and your customers’ needs. Unlike an agency that sells one-off experiences, a development team can build a platform that you can easily add content to, giving you the flexibility to create exactly what you need and make adjustments over time.
Augmented Reality in Jewellery Business?
61% of users would rather buy in a shop with AR experience than in another. Jewellery stores are no different. Both physical and online shops in this industry need to upgrade to stay competitive. Through augmented reality, a jeweller can optimise its sales process & can create an interactive way of shopping. Augmented reality has found a strong foothold in jewellery retail as well. Businesses are using this technology to provide a new level of interaction between the customers & their products, either online or in-store.
Upgrade your jewellery story with Plushvie
Plushvie offers a real-time & smooth jewellery try-on experience online. It is highly recommended for every Jewellery retailer who wants to expand their business and cater to Millennials. To book your demo or discuss how you can increase your business through augmented reality, visit our website now.
Overall, all Brands will need to develop successful strategies to overcome multifaceted disruption, find new ways to reach consumers, sell products, and put products in shoppers’ hands. Going forward, keeping in mind the health and safety of employees and customers should be the utmost priority among retailers and developers alike. With rapidly evolving consumer preferences and attitudes, retailers and businesses must embrace the change and prepare for transformation in order to provide a seamless shopping experience to consumers. With the emerging technology and rise of omnichannel retailing, retailers need to revamp and recalibrate their business strategies and integrate artificial intelligence and machine learning to create new experiences and gain consumer trust in a post-Covid world.