5 Lessons Retailers Learned During The Pandemic

July 14, 20206min

Things may be going back to normal after the height of the COVID-19 crisis for some businesses, whereas others may still be picking up the pieces and forming a new go-to-market strategy for an uncertain future.

The virus doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon (or at all), so the lessons companies learned during the crisis can be transformational and help refine strategies long-term. Here are five takeaways from the current pandemic to revolutionise your business.

1. Collision Is Imminent But Make Room For Plans

As soon as malls started to close down during the COVID-19 crisis, it became clear that consumers, stuck at home, were going to switch to online shopping. It was ultimately the companies with the best eCommerce components that have fared well.

Retail comprises 55 percent of the annual GDP in the United States. Many retailers had to worry about paying rents in malls that were closed for weeks and had to accumulate debt to make it through the toughest periods of the virus. The companies that were prepared to absorb the sudden spike in online orders tended to weather the COVID-19 storm and will continue to do so in the event of a second wave.

Even with the crisis, online shopping comprises only 14.9 percent of US purchases, so there is plenty of room to grow in eCommerce. Generally, the retailers who fared the best were the ones who marketed towards a consumer’s needs rather than wants. With rising numbers of unemployed, pockets are not as deep as they once were, and it is incumbent on companies to consider what would make consumers regard their products as necessities rather than as luxuries.

2. Working from Home and Providing Safety Gear for Employees

Many employees flirted with the notion of working from home, but the COVID-19 crisis made this possibility a reality for a large percentage of workers. In some cases, this was temporary, but for others, it may be longer term. Companies have had to become more flexible with out-of-the-box solutions that include transitioning some tasks offsite.

Employees will appreciate several options, particularly if they have children who may suddenly have to be kept home from school if a teacher ends up in quarantine. Making employee safety a major priority, including social distancing, masks and encouraging hand-washing demonstrates concern for employees. Customers may also be more likely to do business with companies that are careful about safety, care about their employee experience, and preventing the spread of the virus.

3. Marketing With Compassion

The potential customers you are marketing to are seeing many, many more advertisements besides yours, and the number is growing. It is estimated in the 1970s the average person saw 500 to 1600 ads daily. Way back in 2007, the number was estimated at 5,000 daily and now, in 2020, it may be reaching 6,000. With more individuals and companies selling online because of COVID-19, conventional forms of advertising may be tuned out as people feel inundated by things companies want them to buy. The answer is to tweak your marketing strategy to focus on offering information and value rather than trying to aggressively make a sale. If you offer something, such as a valuable hint or a simple solution to a problem, leads are more likely to pay attention and feel like rewarding you for providing something of value rather than seeing them as just another potential customer.

4. Pivot To What’s Possible

Consumers don’t want to be bothered with extraneous material. Especially during the COVID-19 crisis, they want to hear about products and services that are useful to them. This is why it is more important than ever to ensure that your data strategy hits the right target. Finding a solution that will help you track data across several channels will enable your company to stay relevant to the right leads.

5. Returning Back To The Community

During times of collective struggle, people are impressed with companies that are interested not just in making a profit but making a difference. While COVID-19 is affecting all of our lives, social media becomes a place where people talk about great deeds and compassionate organisations. Pledging a certain percentage of your sales towards charities that will help healthcare workers or COVID-19 patients will create a lasting impression and focus your company’s vision on a broader goal.

Growing from the COVID-19 crisis has been essential for businesses and individuals. These five tips can rev up your business in the short-term and keep your company ready in the long-term for whatever is around the corner.

Alon Ghelber

Alon Ghelber

Alon Ghelber is CMO at Revuze, an AI-enabled technology analyzing millions of customer reviews, online opinions, and offline pieces delivering experience-related insights and intelligence for companies to optimise decision-making.

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Customer Experience Magazine is the online magazine packed full of industry news, blogs, features, reports, case studies, video bites and international stories all focusing on customer experience.



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