Best Practices Retailers Should Follow to Survive in the Post-Covid World

02/04/22 01:32 AM By Nazneen

The pandemic made it clear that retail stores will be operating in a completely different business environment. In the earlier part, we discussed the key retail trends that dominate the industry, and retailers will have to embrace them to survive in the ‘new normal.’ 

However, the challenge for retailers is embracing those trends in an agile way, adjusting their tasks and business decision-making quickly to adapt to the new everyday reality. Nonetheless, retailers should take all the steps necessary to serve their customers effectively and ensure they are not falling less on margins.

Here are some best practices that retailers should observe to grow in a world post-Covid.

Prioritize Employees’ and Customers’ Health

The first and foremost step retailers should take is to ensure their store employees’ safety and proper health. Though contactless deliveries, digitization, and online deliveries will continue growing, human workers and laborers will play a vital role in replenishing inventory and delivering products. Hence, how retailers plan and assess their human capital will be critical. For example, retailers should provide masks, gloves, and other protective equipment; sterilize the store several times per day, etc. Moreover, click-and-collect and higher demand for online sales will boost more labor requirements. As the human element is still present in the entire sales journey, prioritizing employees’ health will ensure no hiccups, delivering the best customer service. Similarly, retailers will have to grant more flexibility on shifts and other amendments to retain good employees and grow business. Neglecting to give due consideration to workers can lead to rising absenteeism and low motivation, eventually affecting the assistance given to customers.

Focus on Right Products and Model Demand

Rather than considering store layout and merchandising, retailers should focus on product quality and safety. Further, they also should think about changing customer behavior as the pandemic has highly influenced their buying decisions due to changes in their financial and living situations. For example, customers who want to buy pasta will not purchase a particular brand. But, they might prefer buying cooking oil from a good brand as oil is an ingredient related to health and wellness. 
Understanding such behavior can help them manage inventory and fulfill customers’ needs. Further, retailers will also have to adopt data analytics to understand store and online retail forecasts. Forecasting will be pretty essential to ramp up product mix and retail traffic.

Engage in New Business Models and Partnerships

New trends in the retail industry majorly revolved around adopting new technologies that can help brick and mortar players to meet customers’ expectations. For this, retailers will have to partner with service providers to offer enhanced capabilities. For example, retailers need a cutting-edge solution partner to help them offer home delivery and online order services to customers. Indeed, such partnerships are essential as it is the need of the hour. Again, they might have to rework the cost of doing business and set up a new strategy altogether.

Long-term Strategy

Retail has been one of the hard-hit industries due to the pandemic. While retailers must shift to evolving environments, they also have to think wisely about investments and spending money on genuinely needed activities. They need to think about both short-term and long-term survival. Cutting costs today might ensure survival in the short term, but that might not help the business grow in the long term. 

For example, investing in a cutting-edge platform that can help them manage inventories and online sales is necessary. Similarly, investments in new technologies to enhance supply management efficiency will deliver exceptional results. If they wish to save money here and increase profits, they will be able to do so but not for a long time as it implies you’re simply doing business the conventional way. 

OptCulture solutions like e-receipts, campaigns encouraging click-and-collect or online shopping do help drive sales in the pandemic. 

It is not a surprise that consumer behavior and shopping patterns have changed, and if retailers are planning to go back to how things were, they will find it quite challenging to survive in the post-COVID environment. As new variants continue to create disruption, the new normal remains unclear. However, that shouldn’t stop retailers from taking necessary steps to adapt to life post-Covid.

This blog was originally written by Priya Dialani for OptCulture.