With the pandemic bringing about radical changes across industries, the retail sector too has undergone massive transformation. “The key is to respond, because brands/retailers that don’t respond are thought to have taken a backseat. But it’s important not to be reactionary. It’s always important to maintain perspective,” Tina Manikas, president, FCB Red said. She was speaking at the inaugural edition of BrandWagon Conclave held virtually. According to her, for the retail sector, one size fits none — How consumers shop, where they shop and what they shop for are all evolving unequally based on geography, income, health status, ethnicity, and age.
One of the key trends emerging in the retail sector is the acceleration of contactless experience amidst growing concerns around wellness and safety, Manikas noted. As per Pew Research Center, 87% shoppers say they prefer to shop in stores with touchless or robust self check out options triggered by the pandemic. Moreover, consumers are avoiding crowds, have anxiety about it and want to shop without fear. There is also a pent up demand for getting life back to some form of normal. Hence, it is also important to adopt practices such as A-list access as well as appointment-based interaction in order to be in tune with the consumers needs.
Another important aspect that brands need to look at during the phase, is to meet consumers where they are. From kiosks, pop-ups and mobile shopping to providing access to retail associates as well as geo-targeting, are some of the popular ways companies are connecting with the consumers. “More than one-third of consumers are now thinking twice about making purchases,” Manikas stated, adding the need for brands to implement strategies such as livestreaming shopping, and allowing consumers to connect virtually with sales associates, solving for human interactions, among others.
As per a report by Kantar, 77% of the consumers expect their brands to be helpful in what has become the “new everyday life.” “The ability to pivot is the most critical element you have got to build. Invest in your product, optimize retail revenue models– channels, systems, role of store, become more nimble with multi-scenario planning, experiment with technology, reassert brand values,” Manikas explained.
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