The pandemic is expected to have a lasting impact in the next few quarters, which may cause severe effects on the retailers, particularly dealing with non-essential brands. They may see a very slow growth in their sales leading to further erosion of profits, as consumer demand is expected to rise very slowly post lockdown is over.
Businesses will need to adapt to the new reality of consumers taking on online shopping, and expecting doorstep deliveries, to restructure their operations that’ll help them bounce back to maintain flow of profits and avoid any more distress than there already is.
Once eCommerce operations resume, companies would require strict and rapid processes to ensure no more disruption is caused in their order processing and delivery. Any more delays will straightaway shift consumer focus to competitions, making the situation much worse.
Analyzing the situation of over 500,0000 retailers represented by Retailers Association of India (RAI), CEO Kumar Rajagopalan said “If somebody does a Rs 500 crore of turnover, the loss of sales is expected to be in the range of 50-60 percent, which could be around Rs 250-300 crore. This could be that deep”
Consumer Behaviour Indicates a Strong Need to go Omnichannel
Customers have constantly been moving to the digital databases as shopping offline is not an option due to the lockdown in place, making them rely on online platforms until the lockdown is over.
But even after the lockdown is lifted, consumers are sure to avoid physical retail due to the high possibility of being infected by a simple handshake.
And so, as customers find the online arena full of options and easier to handle, they are moving on to eCommerce more than ever and so the need for omnichannel solution has grown exponentially worldwide in the past few months.
As per a study released by Deloitte, consumer behaviour analysis indicates that they would most certainly want out of store shopping experience, increasing the trend of no contact demands, boosting online sales further.
Public gathering may still be avoided to eliminate any possibility of contracting infection fueling delays in offline shopping and further increasing the need for integration of offline stores with online marketplaces.
All of these and the constantly changing customer expectations cannot be managed if your business serves only via a single platform.
Why is Omnichannel retailing going to be the future of offline retailers?
The changing customer preferences are necessitating the offline brands to consider their omnichannel strategy seriously and invest in omnichannel technology and supply chain.
One such case that has been seen is of the giant offline supermarket Big Bazaar, that transformed its two decade old format of offline sales into an online marketplace.
In an article by the Economic Times, Bharati Balakrishnan, senior VP, digital commerce, Future Group said that “We were able to launch BigBazaar.com within ten days and since then we’ve scaled it to about 10,000 orders a day. We’re running online wherever we’re allowed to operate stores. Some of the stores are adopting online orders faster than others,”
At a smaller level, even the Kirana stores have transformed their day to day operations by tying up with local brands for inventory, to fulfil the demands and provide doorstep deliveries of orders.
They have enabled methods of keeping the flow of business intact by successfully merging their offline operations into an online business model.
All other brands need to learn from these examples, similar for a big retailer or small Kirana stores, that understood the importance of how a low footfall can cause inventory turnover to decrease, making it difficult to justify running stores and so, with omnichannel, they got to drive higher utilization of their outlets by shifting their business online.
As the consumption of internet grew rapidly, brands that have adapted omnichannel solutions in their model of business operations, have been able to put that need of consumers into perspective.
They managed to revamp retail behaviour and went on to engage consumers by creating an online presence via own websites or mobile apps as well as listing on omnichannel marketplaces, that provide store like experiences ensuring customers to not only stick around but also to keep the sales afloat.
How Businesses Around the World are Dealing with the Lockdown?
Businesses all around the globe, especially in the US, China and European markets have gone through or undergoing similar circumstances and the solutions that they turned to can serve as leading examples for your business to manage and better operations post the lockdown period is over to minimise losses.
As one of the biggest retailers in the world with a huge dependency of supply from the Chinese market, Nike CEO John Donahoe threw some light on their initiatives to cope up with the outbreak and how they plan to take on the economic challenges about to occur in the next few months.
The retail outlets of Nike have been closed around the world and they currently depend on digital sales. As the operations were on hold, Nike tried to connect with the customers and incorporated a shift of inventory via technology to serve consumers demands.
Nike determined a strategy that included a 4 step process based on the impact it saw in China soon after the Coronavirus outbreak. The steps included
- Closing retail stores until contamination due to virus stops
- Focusing on eCommerce marketplaces till the lockdown continued
- Changing business practices keeping in mind all the restrictions
- Ensuring consumer engagements digitally to increase retaining growth
How to Adapt the Omnichannel Retail Solution for Your Business?
The omnichannel retail solution is designed to not only manage sales on multiple channels but to integrate the channels together so that customers experience an uninterrupted shopping experience with businesses being able to fulfil all demands from each of their stock keeping areas.
Building an omnichannel strategy helps the brand with 360 degree operational management including focus on technology driven solutions, complete supply chain management, and organizational processes that require proper training of store staff to help be able to handle online orders, and rerouting demands by analyzing all stock keeping outlets.
With this solution, you can manage all your business operations via retail as well as online sources, increase inventory turnover, run operations with higher efficiency and experience better unit economics, reducing the damage to a significant low.
What business specifics can you get out of Omnichannel retailing?
Well, integrating your business to Omnichannel retail, can offer you a plethora of support, some of which include:
- Integrated Communication and Analytics
- Maintaining Customers Relations intact no matter the mode of shopping
- Obtaining consistent and useful Data via every transaction
- Customized creation of the products as per target audiences
- Experienced and Service Focused Shopping
- Strong customer support & communication management
This lockdown has pushed brands to emphasize on being omnipresent, and that can happen only when you have Omnichannel solutions by your side, but you don’t need to go too far to find a platform that offers you all that and more!!
Unicommerce has been a pioneer in cloud-based technology platforms that offer a highly robust OmniChannel Solution through Uniware. With Unicommerce’s omnichannel solution, your business gets an instantaneous and centralized cross-channel order and inventory management system.
These solutions empower your retail brand to engage customers with a consistent quality service across various channels of markets; online marketplaces, physical stores or a company website.
Unicommerce’s omnichannel solution is a sophisticated retail software with key features to optimize and maintain the scale of growth for your business that includes:
- Dynamic Order Allocation to ensure routing of online orders to nearest offline store
- Endless aisle to enable store to store transfer for avoiding lost sales
- Enabling “Deliver from Store” or “Click & Collect” for reduced logistics costs
- Seamless integration with the brand website, Point of Sale as well as ERPs to ensure full data visibility
- Ability to capture customer journey across all touchpoints for improved customer experience
- Comprehensive omnichannel returns management (Buy Online, Return Offline Or Buy Offline & Return Online)
- Centralized inventory management across offline stores, website and marketplaces
- Point of Sale solution to cater to basic retail use cases
Our Omnichannel offering aims to reduce your operational and manpower costs and help you increase your business profitability.
Learn from the experience of other businesses-
- How Chumbak streamline retail over 100 categories across 50 stores pan India, a web store and 5+ marketplaces, all via Unicommerce’s robust omnichannel solutions
- How India’s leading eyewear marketplace is enabling Omnichannel Retailing across 400+ stores
- How Fashion Brands AND & Global Desi are improving their Warehouse Operations experience
Know how Unicommerce can help your brand manage Online & Offline operations efficiently.