COVID-19 Effect: How Will it Affect the Retail Industry?

person browsing in an online shop

We’re almost midway into the year’s second quarter and we’ve already gone through a lot of changes.

First, we had bushfires all over the country that devastated large areas of the country. A few months after, the whole world was hit with the novel coronavirus. The ramifications of these two major historical events will greatly affect all sectors of society, particularly, the retail industry.

However, things don’t necessarily have to spell doom-and-gloom for retailers across Australia. In fact, it might produce a different brand of retail that people will start calling the “new norm” at least until the world finally has a cure and can somehow go back to certain routines before the crisis hit.

Whether you’re a loyal customer, casual shopper, or a retailer that sells carry bags in Australia, consider the following possible effects the global health and economic crises may bring.

6 Ways the Pandemic Could Affect the Retail Industry

1. Out-of-the-Box Thinking

Now more than ever, creativity and innovation will be put to the test. We’re not talking about gimmicks and promotion but thinking of ways to grab a fair share of the market. It will no longer be just about products but the overall shopping experience under the present circumstances.

2. Ethical Retailing

Part of the overall customer experience is ethical retailing where consumers expect more conscientious business practices from retailers and boutique owners. The same level of expectation can be said of online sellers.

3. Collaborative Endeavors

While this may seem more applicable to brick-and-mortar establishments, you might also find online sellers taking this approach. Partnering with other businesses (perhaps service-oriented establishments like coffee shops) might help all parties involved with rental costs, staffing concerns, and overhead expenses.

4. Capturing Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers for E-commerce

With numerous stores and businesses closed, almost everyone is turning to online shopping for the acquisition of goods. This includes both Boomers and Gen X-ers who, prior to the pandemic, were strangers to e-commerce. Making the most of this opportunity to engage these two people groups and help them create new habits will help reduce their fears about purchasing online.

5. More Intimate Knowledge and Understanding of the Supply Chain

The whole world was caught by surprise at how fast the virus spread. It immobilized industries and exposed some chinks in the supply chain armor of corporations. Companies are now looking at other possible manufacturing options besides China. Retailers who were caught ill-prepared have seriously reevaluated their business practices and are struggling to cope with market demands.

Experience is the most effective teacher, they say. Retailers should take the supply chain seriously to avoid the consequences of the lack of preparedness and management.

6. Opportunities for Smaller Retailers

retail shops

With plenty of the bigger shops folding due to unsustainability — a large number of employees, overhead costs, minimal to zero walk-in customers — there is room for the smaller players to grow in. Entrepreneurs will step forward to fill in the gaps for consumer needs.

People’s buying behaviors may be changing but it still doesn’t take away the fact that people will continue to purchase goods in-store and online. Retailers everywhere just need to adapt to the situation and contextualize their strategies that are appropriate to their market.

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