Coronavirus: an Unexpected Growth Driver for Your Retail Business

Coronavirus is leaving its mark on businesses, infecting retailers everywhere - both large and small.

With quarantines being mandated in new countries every day, there are fewer people on the streets and businesses worldwide are being hit hard. Retailers are cutting working hours to restock, taking measures to sanitize their stores, and are suffering from decreased staff and supply chain disruptions.

While everyone is talking about the huge downsides of Coronavirus, it also presents an opportunity: used correctly, it is an incredible marketing campaign for digital transformation.

With so few people leaving their homes and retail stores crippled as a result, consumer adoption of online channels is rapidly accelerating. It has been reported that 80%(!) of Chinese consumers placed online orders in the last month alone.

Retailers that adjust quickly to the new situation will minimize short-term losses and perhaps even grow while gaining deep long-term customer loyalty.

In this article, we’ll discuss the -

Best 6 strategies for adapting to the Coronavirus in the retail landscape.

1. Say “Hi” to new clients and customer segments

When customers stay home, they make their purchases online. Expect huge numbers of new customers to visit your website. Online shopping in the 44-65 age range has shot up by 70%!

  1. Add more people to your customer service force and train them well. Many of your customers will be ordering for the first time; give them the best experience you can to keep them coming back.
  2. Offer free shipping for your older customers.
  3. Open your store 1 hour earlier only for your older customers.
  4. React quickly to changing customer needs by offering new products.
  5. Increase your social media presence and decrease your call center response times. Communicate with your customers, show empathy, find quick solutions, and be gentle.

2. Pay attention to the market’s new best-sellers

Coronavirus has made products that barely even sold a few months ago into best-sellers today. Hand sanitizer, baby diapers, toilet paper, pasta, and even electronics like Playstation 4 and other video game systems are experiencing monstrous sales increases.

  1. Watch best-seller lists daily and adjust accordingly with special attention to pricing, discounts, and inventory. Keep a medium margin for your best sellers.
  2. Basket sizes will grow significantly. Take advantage by discounting products you don’t sell often and bundling them with best-sellers.

3. Deliver fast. No excuses.

Production and distribution center activity has slowed significantly, transportation has been restricted, and Chinese manufacturing is heavily damaged, but customers continue to expect great experiences. They will stay with retailers that deliver products quickly.

  1. Order from new suppliers, increase package sizes, and consider bulk buying.
  2. Work around the clock to deliver fast - even faster than you promise.
  3. Coordinate an emergency response team that can deal with local crises, special requests, lacks in demand, and other issues.
  4. Shift focus away from traditional buying negotiations with suppliers and toward ensuring continuity of supply.

4. Be creative

Customers are bored at home with tons of free time to surf the web.

  1. Marketing campaigns! Your customers have more time than ever to view your website and learn about your products.
  2. Email your consumers lists of ideas of what to do at home.
  3. Inspire confidence in your customers by explaining how your company is adjusting to surges in orders.
  4. Adjust your SEO & PPC to the change in consumer needs; new keywords are driving traffic, so make sure to have them all.

5. Implement new technologies - quickly

Adding a market and consumer intelligence platform can increase your sales by 30% while keeping a high level of consumer satisfaction. The right platform will help you:

  1. Price and promote products without eroding your margins while providing more value to consumers.
  2. Watch and predict consumer needs. This will help you prepare the appropriate amount of stock.
  3. Monitor stock levels and fulfillment every day and order accordingly.

Be careful, though! Choose the right technological providers.

  1. Pick a simple platform so you don’t have to spend months learning a new system.
  2. Find a provider who can deliver within 2 weeks.
  3. Avoid a platform that requires heavy resources from your IT team. They have enough challenges ensuring your website is working properly as it is.
  4. The ideal platform will require ZERO maintenance from your side.

6. Be kind. Be human.

  1. Include a small gift in your packages. Appropriate and timely gifts include things like face masks, candy, and inspirational notes.
  2. Send free samples.
  3. Handle shipping and returns with special care. If there are delays for your consumers, communicate them clearly and compassionately. Treat them well and your customers will remember you and return to your website again and again.

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Galiya Simanovsky

Co-founder at Adapt, enjoys writing about retail & digital transformation.