Retailer’s Survival possibilities -Post Covid-19

As more customers become acclimated to shopping online, businesses will need to be more strategic than ever in their brick-and-mortar store tactics. Most businesses’ futures are still online, and merchants who want to entice customers back into stores should continue to use an omni-channel strategy. Experts say that focusing on the customer experience, avoiding discounts as a key tactic, and establishing clever loyalty programmes that show your company knows its clients is the best way forward for brick-and-mortar stores. According to a recent pre-pandemic study, millennials are more likely for the store visit compared to others just because it is an instant gratification in terms of getting pleasure to explore, seek help from salespeople, trying on things etc. All of them are sensory aspects. But majorly Relevance, Resources, and Relationships are the “three R’s” of customer experience.

The COVID-19 outbreak struck just as retail outlets were regaining ground against e-commerce after years of decline. The pandemic then drove retailers to close, putting many struggling businesses on the verge of bankruptcy. 29 retail companies had filed for bankruptcy protection as of mid-August 2020.During the same time period, almost 10,000 retail stores announced about the closure, with one tracking firm predicting 20,000 to 25,000 closures by the end of the year. Some forecasters aren’t making predictions since the holiday shopping outlook is so unpredictable.

Here are three ways that businesses can assist stores in succeeding in the face of adversity.

  1. Understand why people shop at Stores-Companies should try understanding and focus their in-store experiences on what attracts customers.
  2. Build clever rewards programmes with Nudges and Winks-Retailers should take advantage of data and technology to build “shopper experiences” and programmes that benefit both the customer and the business.

Nudges aim to change people’s behaviour in predictable ways without restricting their choices or altering their financial incentives. “Suggested tips,” which can automatically print on restaurant receipts and prompt clients to recommend tipping in appropriate amounts, is a famous example.

Winks are intimate moments shared by two people. “It’s all about unity.” It’s about finding a method to connect with others. Those moments should be actively measured and monitored by businesses. Customers communicate their delight through smiles. Usually, these are self-evident. Good rewards systems include these acts, according to Schrage, who cited Starbucks’ rewards programme as an example of a successful programme.

COVID-19 situation is complex, and retailers’ ability to ride the waves for their survival will be determined by their thoughtful and well-managed responses. Retailers should use this as a chance to outperform their less agile competitors and lay the groundwork for a future business that is more digital and nimble.

Dr.Karpagavalli,
Assistant Professor,
DSCE-MBA

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