What’s in Store for Retail After the Pandemic?
The current health crisis has not spared a single industry — and going back to normal is officially off the table. This pandemic has happened & has driven change in the way customers interact with retail. Industry experts have noted that there is still a long route to economic recovery, despite seeing a 17% rise in sales in June. A change in how consumers purchase is evident, and retailers need to consider this if they want to be at the forefront of retail’s next generation.
What will the industry look like when this challenge is over?
An Emphasis on Virtual Presence
As recommended by the CDC and local governments, people need to practice social distancing and avoid crowds where possible to stay safe & healthy. This has boosted the eCommerce growth that retailers were experiencing prior to the pandemic, expected to be a almost $4 Trillion market size by the end of 2020. Across every vertical consumers are willing to purchase almost every product online, the virtual presence is increasingly valuable.
This is something that retailers need to perfect over the next few years, retailers of all sizes will have to bolster their online presence. Creating an accurate product library through effective Inventory Control, and leveraging a social media presence to boost sales and generate a consolidated brand identity across channels. Retailers with a solidified digital presence will be able to take advantage of a fragile marketplace, but must continue to evolve the way they engage and communicate with customers throughout the purchase journey.
Cloud retail tools & mobile technology are another key area of opportunity, through these tools, retail companies have been able to enhance their point-of-sale (POS) experience and allow their employees to more effectively communicate with customers. Whether in store, or through virtual communication, retailers have developed effective communication processes to drive sales & revenue across channels, leveraging the “Halo Effect” to drive sales.
A Limited Talent Pool
As noted, companies that do not have a solidified digital presence are more susceptible to economic downturns or consumer uncertainty. This invariably has an impact on revenue and business performance, reducing selling ability and preventing optimal customer experiences. More and more consumers have gained an appreciation for e-commerce and digital services, taking advantage of safety, convenience and brevity. While this is easy to carry out and support for huge retailers, small and medium-sized businesses will find it harder to digitize their operations.
Even before the health crisis hit the United States, talent shortages were already a prominent issue. 69% of employers had difficulty filling skilled positions, across a range of job roles; from engineering to support. But now retail companies need specialists to grow their brand virtually, building engaging customer experiences, they have to invest more in recruitment and strategize more aggressive methods of reaching their target customer.
In an attempt to secure a consistent talent pool, several retailers have partnered with universities and colleges. Upping visibility through sponsored events on campus and providing work / voluntary experiences, they encourage students to try their hand at retail work. On the other side, universities and colleges are also immersing their students with real-world problems in marketing, branding, and the larger business world. Strengthening their connections with universities and colleges, retail companies have better access to college students, which in turn, lets them highlight the possible career opportunities their establishments hold.
It’s undeniable that the pandemic will drive digital growth to support retailers across verticals, but in due time, stores will be back to 100% capacity, the hygiene and disinfection measures we’ve learned about will need to continue to keep customers safe, and the engaging experiential retail of the past will have to be approached from a different perspective, to ensure the continued efficacy and safety of the retail environment.
Learn how Teamwork Commerce can enable efficiency and improve the customer experience: https://teamworkcommerce.com/mobile-pos