Is Retail Restart finally kicking off?
Visual Merchandising and Retail Design|October 2020
Is Retail Restart finally kicking off?
There has been closure. There has been fear. There has been delay. There has been a great deal of loss for retailers during the past few months. As pandemic broke out and lockdown measures took hold, the retail industry underwent a radical transformation. Again & again, there has been a challenge, and retailers have come through it.
Mohit Manghani

Now, as the festive season is coming closer, retailers head into their most important part of the year. While it may not look like any festive season retailers are used to, it might just help them to recover from their losses and capitalize on the traditional shopping period. But, thanks to COVID-19, retail does not resemble what it did in years past. So how will this year’s festive season play out and what will it mean in the days to come for the industry as a whole?

About this time every year, retailers look to deal with familiar challenges: planning in-store activations, supply chain pressures, seasonal discounting, increased product demand, and spikes in web traffic—to name a few. But the 2020 festive season is going to be different.

In addition to exploring new ways of delivering their products into the hands of customers, many retailers have changed the way they operate, with more changes likely to come. For example, brands like Tanishq, Kalyan Jewellers, Shoppers Stop, Skoda, Crocs, and Titan, among others, have all hopped on to video calling option to offer a holistic and hassle-free shopping experience.

Footwear brands Metro Brands Ltd and Bata India are interacting with customers through Whatsapp. A host of other brands including Da Milano, Chumbak, Meena Bazaar and Metro Brands, are also ramping up their e-commerce verticals, further changing the digital and physical dynamics of the season.

While many continue to spend huge sums on digital channels, large retailers are also betting big on experiential retail. Brands like Trent Ltd. from Tata Group, global sportswear brand Puma, sporting goods retailer Decathlon, custom furniture brand Woodenstreet, and clothing brand Levi’s are creating a new wave in the retail sector by launching new innovative concept stores.

Add to that, retailers, are beginning to move forward with expansion plans that had been in place before the pandemic. For example, brands like UNIQLO, luxury watch retailer Ethos, men’s wear brand Indian Terrain Fashions Ltd, technology giant Lenovo & electronics manufacturer Xiaomi are opening new stores while many brands like online shopping platform Nykaa, Tupperware, Biba are re-opening their physical retail stores.

With nearly 85 percent of the retail space now operational, and small green shoots of recovery beginning to emerge, retailers are banking on the coming festive season for a revival in consumption and some recovery at least in the fourth quarter. The question remains whether customers are ready to return to stores this festive season?

Cautious Optimism

Unlock 1, 2, and 3 have offered some relief to the mounting stress of retail sector even if the business still looks far from usual. And if Independence Day weekend footfall and sales across malls are anything to go by, a majority of large retailers look confident that buyers would come back soon.

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October 2020