Change in retail has received a digital boost driven by store closures and the almost complete absence of bricks and mortar retailing (apart from grocery and the surge of PPE supplies flooding the market) during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the digital change was already in motion, what cannot be disputed is the acceleration of this and the inevitability that high street retail will never be the same again.
With the likely scenario being that traditional ways of shopping fail to return for many in the retail sector, it seems inevitable that the new world will drive the need for widespread and transformational change within organisations.
The huge opportunity for retailers is the digital boom, irreversible growth of ecommerce and the opportunity for those that can emerge stronger to succeed in this world of all consumers transforming into digital natives! New research has shown that one in five respondents who said their most-recent grocery purchase was done online were first-time online grocery shoppers. And while 1/3 of current purchases of all products and services have been online, that figure is expected to continue to rise going forward.
The big question for retailers is how much of this new behaviour sticks.
Still, the reality is, once consumers get used to the convenience of digital channels they’re unlikely to abandon them altogether and so for many retails not set up with this degree of e-commerce focus, this requires significant transformation.
Four business focuses on combating the COVID hangover:
At Nine Feet Tall we advise our retail clients that there are four key steps that they can take now to get ready for a permanent shift into the new ecommerce-focused world, and to take advantage of the new customer habits this will bring:
1. Refocus & Maximise Marketing to Embrace Digital
With marketing spend and strategy traditionally focused on the high-street, it’s time to pivot the focus onto digital marketing that centres on a customer-centric and integrated approaches to deliver growth.
2. Seamless Customer Journey Experience
Lockdown has reduced choice and reduced consumers threshold to accept a clunky experience, but when the high-street opens up again there will be increased choice, and the experience throughout this process will shine through as being critical to the execution of your digital marketing strategy.
3. Digital Scaling through Partnerships
With the great switch to online purchasing, an inability to meet demand through e-commerce will deliver a second knock-out blow to any retailer. Focus on the touchpoints and supply chain elements that need scaling with partners to leverage flexibility and expertise as required, such as ‘ last mile’ delivery solutions that require a strategy with effective partnerships and collaboration.
4. The New Store Concept
Finally, there is a role for stores in the digital boom. Stores have a new function and need to fully align with the digital strategy rather than remain as a relic of a past world. How bricks and mortar align with digital and support that strategy can set you apart from the competition and offer consumers an experience that the likes of Amazon cannot match.
The opportunities are unlimited for those than can innovate.
In summary, transformation is needed to take advantage of the online retail boom, and it needs to start now. Customers are already making the switch and those who delay making their move will lose those customers. The opportunities are unlimited for those than can innovate and deliver change effectively to enable this transformation in their organisations.
For a conversation now about your retail projects please contact contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will set up a free consultation with a member of our team.