With the ongoing pandemic, Indian retail is undergoing a huge makeover. Despite this, the sector continues to be one of India’s largest industries that makes up for about 10 percent of the GDP and around 8 percent of the employment. Shopping habits have been largely affected during the pandemic, with safety now taking over as a new criterion over price range, variety and convenience. In India, hypermarkets are witnessing lower footfalls and most sectors including apparel, accessories and durables have faced a lack of demand. Essential category players are also facing challenges, albeit of a different kind-managing huge spikes in demand, ensuring liquidity, modifying and managing store operations to maintain safety standards, managing employee and health and grappling with a shortage of staff.
While it is yet to be determined which consumer shopping trends will have a lasting impact coming out of COVID-19, what we know for certain is that the digital shelf is now more important than the physical shelf. While many brands are taking this time to innovate and nd new strategies for greater personalisation and digital connection, they’ll need to ultimately unpack what is a passing trend versus a real shift in consumer behaviour.
Considering some of these changes, below are a few key aspects which retailers should consider post the COVID-19 scenario if they are to survive in this new reality:
New Age Phygital
Using Digital Technologies Maximum
Supply Chain Resilience
Revised Media and Advertising Spends
Staying Close to Customers
The report titled, ‘The New Retail Reality’ by KPMG in India and Retailers Association of India (RAI) sheds light on how the pandemic has led to a change in consumer behaviour and more importantly how the retail space is undergoing a complete makeover. Some of these changes include consumers becoming more digitally savvy, the increasing need for a touch-free shopping journey, price value equation, a rise in consumer awareness, popular discretionary spends, new product launches, local sentiments undergoing a change, increased consumer consciousness and last but not the least the online channel gaining traction.
Commenting on the report, Harsha Razdan, Partner and Head, Consumer Markets and Internet Business, KPMG in India said “The unchartered waters of COVID-19 has meant a gradual change in consumer behaviour. With new models of working and shopping evolving, physical and online channels too are undergoing makeovers. We are seeing an increasing thrust on localisation as the new standard. With rising consumer expectations, order fulfilment is becoming increasingly important for retailers to adhere to. To provide a seamless customer journey, it is important to be available across physical and digital touchpoints offering the right choices to consumers. Our view is that retailers across the world, especially the brick and mortar ones will have to borrow best practices from each other and get back up on their feet. Since there is uncertainty that continues with this crisis, innovation and adaptation is key. With the advent of a strong digital wave, it will be important for companies to adapt to the situation quickly & continue to innovate keeping consumers at the centre of their plans.”
Kumar Rajagopalan – CEO, Retailers Association of India (RAI) said “Retailers are relooking at their product mix and the way in which they do their businesses. Even neighbourhood retailers are stepping up their game by augmenting their digital capabilities to optimise every prospective opportunity to their bene t. They always had the trust factor going for them and are now also adding convenience to their arsenal. They are now creating their own web stores and taking orders by marketing their products through various digital channels such as Facebook and WhatsApp. The pandemic has pushed retailers to think out of the box and accelerate tech adoption. We see this trend continuing, making retail more interesting and consumer-focused.”
Changing Consumer Behaviour & Impact
DIGITALLY SAVVY CONSUMERS: The new consumer is digitally savvy and embraces interactions with organisations through digital channels with ease. Recent KPMG in India’s report titled ‘Time to open my wallet’ released in July 2020 reveals a comparative of pre and post COVID-19 scenario highlighting preference to online channels has increased 1.6X growth.
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