Today it is important to first understand and address customer’s apprehensions before inducing them with deals
By Sooraj Balakrishnan
The global pandemic and economic crisis have redesigned nearly every aspect of Indians’ life. Around us, we see an accretion drive where customers take their cautious steps into the outside world that is slowly opening up. The world of retail has been innovating and creating a host of solutions to draw customers out, reward loyalists, and build positive parity for their brands. What holds promise is that the slew of initiatives being launched or in the offing can be not only relevant for this festive season but will serve as building blocks to being a future fit for our customers.
Coupled with the festive season, the pandemic seems to have ‘fast-forwarded’ a shift in shopping habits, with safety now taking over as a new criterion. Let’s start with the opportunity that you have to reinforce your brand image as one who cares. Today it is important to first understand and address customer’s apprehensions before inducing them with deals. To combat the same, retailers including pure-play e-commerce and omnichannel players are also gearing up in advance. Brands that operated both e-commerce, as well as physical stores, are encouraged to move from a multi-channel to omnichannel strategy by fast-tracking technology projects they can integrate and present a ‘phygital’ option. It allows customers the choice of shop- online-pick up-instore, shop online, and exchange or return in-store.
It is important to understand the short-term behaviors and manage them while building for the long-term business continuity.
The following considerations can help brands plan for the new reality that is emerging in the aftermath of the pandemic.
According to a report released by TRA’s Diwali 2020 Buying Propensity, 65% of all consumers expressed a positive buying sentiment as compared to now, and 28% felt it would remain the same. In addition to these new emerging shopping behaviors because of the pandemic, retailers must also account for different attitudes towards spending this season. As consumers have been affected on an individual level by the virus, some may be scaling back spending while some may be ready to release pent up demand.
Commerce Fit For 2020 And Beyond:
This is a no-brainer that brands must have their channels shooting on all cylinders to accommodate changing regulations, consumer preferences, and the possibility of a second wave of Covid-19 this year. This means ensuring you have robust omni-channel experiences, as well as a connected backend that supports safe shopping and post-purchase care. You need experiences that are both seamless and safe for consumers. The point to stress is retail will continue to play a key role as in many categories touch and feel cannot be replaced as well as the human touch. Brands should do commerce with a balanced view and not over-index on any one channel for the short-term but rather invest on shopping experiences in line with customer expectations.
Meaningful advertising to boost brand:
More than ever brands need to be mindful of how they come across during these times. Social sensitivity is important to understand and the more a brand comes across as genuine, purposeful and stand for the good the more customers will associate themselves to such brands.
As we look ahead it is important for brands to understand what the short-term behaviors are and how to tackle them while building a brand for the long-term. Many times such a crisis can disrupt the thought process so as we get into the revival mode it is imperative that we make the brand meaningful to the customer. The new normal had surely taught us that even in tough times, a customer-first mindset can drive innovation and thrive in the face of crisis.
The author is head-marketing, Acer India