There is no doubt COVID-19 has halted the entire globe. The retail world has been hard hit, and the bigwigs have not been spared either. While everyone is busy trying to find ways to survive amid the pandemic, none is sure about what the future holds for their business. The following are possible outcomes.

Transition to Digital

There had always been sensitization to retail businesses on embracing digital shopping even before the COVID-19 outbreak. While some had adapted to the idea, a significant percentage has been reluctant or slow to embrace the concept. With the current situation, everyone can now see the need for venturing into online ways of shopping. While most categories such as apparel, electronics, and entertainment have been rapidly moving online, others such as grocery have been adamant. According to Forbes, this segment has made only a 4% move online. That has to change soon. With social distancing become the norm, grocery stores have no option but to take up ecommerce. There has been a significant increase in the download of grocery apps in February. Most people now rely on home deliveries, so the same trend will likely continue.

Increase in the Demand for Grocery

You have probably noticed a lot of people attempting new recipes and showing off their prowess online. Many are now opting to make their meals from home. This has seen an increase in job openings at the grocery stores go up by 12% in April compared to last year. Everyone is trying to stay active. For that reason, those who would previously break their banks in restaurants will most likely stop the habit. As more people work from home, there will be a massive demand for groceries, thus boosting retail profits.

New Emerging Brands

Remember when you used to prefer one specific toilet paper brand? That must have changed when you could no longer find your favorite on the shelves, right? You are now comfortable with any brand as long as you have toilet paper in your home. With such scenarios, the same trend is likely to continue ones COVID-19 is under control. By the time everyone is back on their feet, you will likely notice new brands (not just toilet paper) on the shelves.

Cashless modes of payment

Safety comes first, which is why people are encouraged to utilize contactless modes of payment, such as mobile payment. In March alone, there was a surge of up to 22% in the use of digital wallets. MasterCard has been on the frontline trying to implement cashless ways of payment. Those who have embraced this idea are likely to continue with the same trend post COVID.

Centralized Inventory Management

Gone are the days when buyers relied on offline shopping. COVID has forced buyers to accept online shopping. Even those who were reluctant now have no choice. As this happens, retailers have to find centralized ways of managing all types of inventory to supervise sales while making a profit. This way, they can restock as the demand grows.

Going local

As earlier mentioned, there is a need to move online no matter how small your business is. People are afraid of getting out of their homes for fear of getting infected. Those who have to go out prefer to shop locally. However, that does not mean that there are fewer chances of infection when you buy locally. The virus is not dependent on location. One way around this is to infuse digital shopping. That way, the locals are protected and sorted with their shopping.

More prominent brands can also improve convenience by opening branches in local places. This approach will not only increase sales, but it allows retailers to interact with buyers at a more personalized level. Conducting surveys and marketing will also be much more comfortable.

How can businesses adapt to the current situation?

As difficult as things may look or feel, retailers cannot completely shut down as they still play a significant role in the economy. What can be done has to continue. Below are steps, retailers need to take to keep them afloat amid the crisis

Communicate

Now, more than ever, brand owners need to maintain communication between their customers and employees. They can use social media platforms to let your customers know of any forthcoming hitches, such as delayed deliveries. Putting such in the open helps maintain the consumers’ loyalty and trust. With most people working home, you need a proper communication channel with your employees to ensure everything is still under control on their end. That, in turn, promotes efficacy at work.

Prepare for re-opening

More places in the US and around the world are re-opening their stores. However, it will not be business as usual. Safety measures such as practicing social distancing, ensuring employees’ safety, store cleanliness, and client sanitization will be mandatory. It is also worth noting that clients may be a little reluctant to come in. You, therefore, need ways of informing customers of the measures you are taking to ensure their safety and follow through them.

Embrace Technological changes

It is no longer about whether or not you feel like going online. The online world is rapidly changing, and soon almost everything will be digitalized. Businesses that are taking ages to accept these changes for fear of the unknown risk going out of business. Owners of apparel shops, for instance, can hold live showrooms where potential customers can view and make orders instead of them having to be there physically.

Focus on Less Expensive items

Yes, people can no longer be extravagant in their shopping, but that does not mean they have completely stopped shopping. Their focus has just shifted from expensive to inexpensive items, and store owners should take advantage of this by stocking more inexpensive items.

In conclusion, the pandemic may have disrupted several things. Nonetheless, one cannot deny that it has allowed businesses to be creative and explore new avenues. As doctors continue finding ways to curb the disease, companies should take this opportunity to think of new ways they can survive should there be another pandemic in the future.