Never Waste a Good Crisis. That may sound cruel, now that the coronavirus is taking so many lives and putting our livelihoods at risk. But what we want to say is this: every crisis encourages reflection and improvement. What do we do when the wave of contamination has stopped? How does this crisis affect consumer behavior and what does that mean for existing Omnichannel / Ecommerce formulas. One thing is certain: there is Retail na corona. But what will the Retail and Ecommerce landscape look like in the future?
Voluntary or forced, shops are closing their doors all over Europe. In this way, retailers protect their employees and customers against the coronavirus and contribute to containment of the spread. This will cost a lot of money in the short term and the question is whether smaller entrepreneurs will survive the corona crisis. Will there be even more gaps in the shopping streets? This is the end of the successful one clicks & bricks formula? It is too early to make hard predictions, but that retail after corona will never be the same as before, it seems inevitable.
Retail during corona, retail after corona
In countries around us there are many physical stores that are not in basic necessities of life foreseen closed by order of the government. In the Netherlands, retailers can still decide for themselves whether to stay open or close. More and more chains are opting for the latter. They do take measures at the door (dosed inwards) or at the cash register (only contactless payment and personnel behind plexiglass).
Michiel Witteveen, who with money added the chain of Dutch Blokker stores took over, decided to remain open and promised not to introduce unnecessary price increases. He explained at NPO 1 that his stores (780 locations and 8,000 employees) play an essential role, if only with a view to hygiene. "Many customers come in with a mission and go straight to the cleaning products." On Youtube Witteveen explains to his employees why people are continuing to work in times of corona: "The money flows must continue, so that we can comply with our financial obligations."
Is boom in Ecommerce temporary?
Now that consumers seem to realize that staying home and keeping their distance is the only way to escape the corona virus, an even bigger role for Ecommerce is obvious. Marketers in both Europe and the United States predict an increase of over seventy percent in the use of online retail channels as a result of Covid19. Especially for food, a boom in online orders was expected, but one global survey of 10,000 consumers contradicts that. With the exception of Italy, there are no radical changes in consumer behavior in everyday shopping in most countries.
To the extent that certain online retailers peak during the current corona crisis, this is often temporary. After all, there is also such a thing as hoarding online. Consumers are on the safe side and want to have certain products - food and non-food - in stock. Online drugstores in particular are experiencing top times. Drogist.nl recently reported an increase in the number of orders with 400%! With absolute highlights: handles, fever thermometers, paracetamol and disinfectants.
If the crisis lasts longer, and that is what it looks like for the time being, such peaks will automatically disappear. Then there is a good chance that online shopping will also decline. Because the health crisis is inevitably also an economic crisis. For many consumers there is a risk of a drop in disposable income, which leads to cautious buying behavior of items that we do not immediately need.
Transparency and communication are crucial
In addition, the global distribution chain is disrupted, which threatens stocks. Large platforms are already warning of longer delivery times. This will certainly still be the case in online retail after corona. That is why it is currently important to communicate well with your customers. read our tips again. Transparency is and remains of the greatest possible value in Ecommerce.
All in all, it is to be expected that the corona crisis will affect our purchasing behavior. The rapid outbreak and the countless draconian measures that flatten everyday life make everyone realize how vulnerable our health is. Who knows for sure that no other virus will emerge once a vaccine for the Covid19 virus is available? People will become more careful, it consumerismEncouraged, in part, by the convenience of online shopping, comes up for discussion. Are we prepared for that?
Retail after corona? Emphasize future-proof services
"Never Waste a Good Crisis ..." Who said that again? It is a statement from the financial crisis that plunged the world into a deep trough in 2009. The advice is attributed to Andrew Wolstenholme, an English engineer who wrote a critical report in 2009 with recommendations for the manufacturing industry to better protect against future recessions. According to him and his team, the industry had to shift its focus from short-term profit targets to sustainable improvements in productivity, quality and safety. It can be a wise lesson for retail - online and offline. Don't be blind to short-term profitability, but emphasize future-proof services and brand loyalty.
The question of how the game of retail after corona will be played is a good reason to critically ask yourself whether the systems and tools you are now using are robust enough to serve your prospects and customers optimally. Does your platform meet the capacity and speed requirements of tomorrow? Make the most of it customer data and put you already effective Marketing Automation tools in? What is for sale in the field of PIM - Product Information Management - and how do you choose the best system for your specific business? These are questions to delve into now, so that you are optimally prepared for the increase in online retail after corona. Make sure you survive this crisis - including business. Want to catch up digitally? Send us a message.