Around the World, Retailers need to find new and innovative ways to help their customers cope with the current Covid-19 Pandemic. Retailers need to respond by focusing on the immediate customer and employee needs and fulfilling them in unique ways, through technology that elevates the experience in terms of purchase, payments and delivery.
Let’s look at some of the innovations that Retailers can look at going forward:
The Covid-19 has brought in a sense of conservatism among shoppers as ‘Social Distancing becomes a norm worldwide. In order to create an uninterrupted discovery and purchase journey retailers needs to come up with solutions that enables contactless discovery and purchase, not only at home but also in-store, the customer prefers to visit. Moreover, to enable a seamless experience, there is a need to create accessibility of the products across platforms the customers use be it mobile or tablets without the necessity to download an app.
Flexibility in payment is something eCommerce has already strengthened over a period of time. However, retail stores, except a few have still not quite brought in innovation in the way customer checks-out. This is critical as in the current situation customers will look to interact with any elements in the store non-physically and that includes payments as well. Hence, in addition to payments at billing counters, contactless self-checkout is something which retailers need to prioritize.
As more and more customers will prefer to stay indoors, even post lockdown, consistency in customer engagement through constant interactions with store teams becomes extremely important. Innovative methods such as social media share of curated products and recommendations can go a long way in not only boosting sales but also empowering customers to become the brand’s ambassador.
Traditionally, stores would only fulfil orders that they receive within their physical outlets when customers come to shop. The current scenario demands stores to elevate the way they serve the customers and act additionally as a fulfilment centre. This may lead to a lot of pressure and bandwidth issue for in-store associates as they need to now be indulged in multi-tasking i.e. attending in-store customers and fulfilling orders that come from other channels. Technology needs to play an important role here by making this process seamless through innovations that empower store associates to fulfil online orders, yet not losing on engaging with in-store customers.
The quarantine situation has given retailers a push to innovate. Will the learning lead to new methods of operation and newfound ways to use digital channels, even after the crisis has subsided? We need to wait and watch.