Over the past few months, the entire world came under quarantine and consumers are maintaining social distancing as a preventive measure to stay safe from COVID -19, whereas retailers are scrambling to adapt. Few retailers have been able to pivot to reliable revenue streams but demand for few brands like clothing and luxury items has dropped drastically.
Retailers understand the situation is changing daily and they have very little time to respond. To remediate the short-term shock and prepare for the long-term implication, the only way out is to go for online stores. Yet many are facing the challenge of placing their e-commerce function and scaling their supply chain.
Retailers recognize the global response of the COVID -19, and to survive there are three key things: know what your customers want, deliver the relevant products, and evolve with the new situation. Maybe the whole matter sounds simple but yet it’s challenging to achieve.
Our experts suggest five key areas where retailers should focus on as those may be challenging for them to maintain a steady flow of revenue.
Post COVID-19 Challenges That Retailers Are Facing
Supply Chain Chaos
Supply chains may be disrupted further downstream as more and more countries are affected due to Covid-19. Stores in all the countries across the globe may be not heavily affected by the product supply center could have disrupted, moreover fear of contamination could bring chaotic situation for the large distribution centers that service multiple stores in multiple locations.
Retail manufacturing and production have been heavily disrupted by COVID-19, particularly the apparel and textile industries take the maximum heat. Shutting down of factories and production units has crashed the supply chain. And the luxury retailers are being hit hard compare to the retailers of essential goods.
Shutting Of Physical Stores & Reduced Footfall
COVID -19 pandemic brings the new normalcy of social distancing and the majority of the public attempt to avoid unnecessary social contact which drastically reduces the human footprints on the physical stores. And governments also order to close the big stores for the safety from contamination and few simply being closed by retailers to protect their staffs.
This whole scenario potentially leads to a fatal effect on revenue. Lost sales are damaging enough but it is much dangerous when we are seeing the bigger picture of continued overheads for stores like rent, wages and inventory.
The main variables to determine how damaging these effects will be on retailers are:
Spike In Online Sales
Due to Covid-19, it’s no surprise that there has been a spike in online shopping, as many stores are closing and consumers are also avoiding going to shop physically to the ones that remain open. The well-proven example of the hike in online shopping is to keep up with a surge in orders sparked by the pandemic, eCommerce giant Amazon recruits 100,000 extra staff across the US.
This sudden paradigm shift is good for both the retailers and consumers as now most of the brands are available both on and offline, but if the retailers struggle to keep up with demand, the shift in proportion between online and offline sales may cause retailers problems. There are many issues to handle in case of online business which retailers need to handle like online orders come along with amounts of returns and once the delivery starts retailers have to cope with the increased demand. These issues make the small players volatile and to survive for long, maybe they are unable to rely on eCommerce.
Now when slowly the unlocking is started in a few countries, we are getting a hold on the million-dollar question -what might a post-COVID-19 retail landscape look like? Retailers take lessons and are more prepared for the future and the COVID-19 is not just a freaking event. It makes the whole retail industry upside down.
Here are a few possible considerations for retail life which retailers want to continue after COVID-19.
Continued Advancement of eCommerce
The growth of online shopping and its advantages over physical retail was bound to happen with or without COVID-19 pandemic; it just has accelerated the whole process. Retailers with a strong eCommerce offering will likely come out of the slump in a much better position. For the retailers who are already prioritizing online commerce, to increase efficiency and reduce running costs to see better margins in the future, evolving their eCommerce operation can act as bolstering the supply chain technology and distribution centers.
Diversifying Manufacturing Facilities
This may be a real concern for retailers and manufacturers, but steps have to take gradually after this pandemic. The problem is not concentrated in a single place across the globe, all are facing the same. Profit margins will always be a priority to diversify the production operations but more cautious retailers and manufactures may less reliant on a single region in the future.
Source To Consumer Traceability In Supply Chains
In the aftermath of COVID-19, it has been the growing priority, for both retailers and consumers. Traceability can offer assurance to consumers and also can create smoother operations in the supply process for the clients who have growing concerns about where their products are coming from. Consumers will be able to judge whether their ordered products are safely made and transported with item-level traceability being where the industry is headed.
Automated Warehouse & Supply Chains
Another most argued concept of the retail supply chain and distribution process is the reliance on automation. To withstand increased pressure, this will make supply chains and distribution centers more robust. Automating processes like exception handling also means DC’s can run faster and with a leaner workforce.
Reasons why retailers are looking for automating chain operations:
Self Service Stores & Cashier Less Checkout Systems
Do you think COVID -19 situations can catalyze self-service technology like cashier-less stores? We’ve seen retail giants like Amazon and Sainsbury’s have yet to be adopted the thought on a large scale. Could that change? Particularly for supermarkets, solutions like Marks and Spencers’ mobile scan & pay could alleviate pressurized checkout lines and that supports reduced human interaction which is the main urge of the situation.
To maximize the number of potential customers, it becomes necessary to incorporate your business into different channels. The reason for this being that rather than taking out time to visit a mall or a brand outlet, today people are more likely to purchase a specific product online. According to statistics, online shopping has had an impact globally, in the last few months 79% of smartphone users have made a purchase online. So it’s high time to optimize the entire process of online sale and marketing by adopting a software-based platform.
This is where Salesforce Commerce Cloud comes in.
Previously known as Demandware, Salesforce Commerce Cloud is a SaaS by the most renowned CRM Company Salesforce. To revolutionize how brands connect with their customers, it offers a wide array of specifically designed features focus on simplifying and optimizing the entire sales process.
How Salesforce Commerce Cloud Can Give Retailers An Advantage
To analyze the data gathered and getting authentic results, Sales Commerce Cloud can integrate with other AI-based platforms. To pave a way for a successful future for the company, analyzing data gathered is important.
Incorporation of next-gen AI with Salesforce Commerce cloud improves the overall customer service of the business which is essential in today’s market by offering a seamless and user-friendly shopping experience to the online shoppers.
To maximize conversion rates and increase the average orders per time, Salesforce Commerce Cloud enables the retailers to manage and share product information with right clients through right channels, providing a more global outreach for the business.
Retailers enjoy the freedom of customizing their business to give the personalized feel to the clients according to their target market with the help of Salesforce Commerce Cloud platform.
Mobile First Approach
Having a mobile-friendly store is crucial nowadays and with the help of Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Mobile CRM, retailers can create a more rewarding and smoother customer experience.
What Next ?
Especially in today’s competitive market, the whole ROI depends on customer satisfaction, and Salesforce commerce cloud assures maximum customer satisfaction.
So, are you waiting for a verified salesforce partner to sign up for an eCommerce cloud solution for your online business?
ETG is a Strategic Salesforce Commerce Cloud Partner dealing with hundreds of successful projects in Salesforce Implementation, Customization, Integration, and more. Contact our experts. We will be glad to assist you!
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About ETG Digital
ETG is a Salesforce Strategic partner. Headquartered in Plano, Texas, ETG is ISO 9001:2015 certified company with a global delivery center in Hyderabad, India. We have a dedicated team serving the business worldwide from multiple locations in the US, Canada, UAE, UK, Australia, and India. Over the last two decades, we have been dedicated to customer success through leveraging emerging technologies. We provide customized and tailor-made solutions for retailers starting their eCommerce journey.
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