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The retail stores are opening, few are rejoicing that their business will recover from the drought caused by the pandemic. On the other hand, others are stressed as this reopening can act as a catalyst for the second wave of the pandemic, which can cause more damage. The authorities have jotted down a process to ensure the safety of citizens and store personnel. It will be up to the people to follow the hygiene guidelines to ensure their safety. In this blog, we will analyze the possible emerging retail trends after this lockdown is slightly relaxed.
The foremost changes will be in consumer shopping habits. The isolation and seclusion will enforce them to change their shopping patterns. The priorities will shift as their financial situations have drastically affected their spending capacity. Their usual trips to leisure activities like spa and salon will have to be cut down. There will be more shopping for household items like wellness products, cleaning supplies, groceries and other essentials. The apparel industry will still take time to make it back to its feet. The ever spending millennials will be very careful about how they are spending their monies. The seniors on the other hand will have to manage in their restricted budget. This gravitational shift will be seen initially as the stores won’t be scoring businesses immediately after reopening.
The pandemic has strengthened and expanded internet shopping. It used to be a place for fashion and electronics, but once the pandemic is over people will be buying more groceries and household items online. Many were already buying in on the trend of shopping vegetables and fruits online, now it will become a habit of people not only in the metropolitan cities but also the tier 2 and tier 3 cities. The big e-commerce spaces like Amazon and Flipkart will create more loyal customers. One of the bigger factors in creating these loyal shoppers will be pricing. The shoppers will be more price-sensitive than ever. The tier 2 and tier 3 cities will be driving the sales of e-commerce as many metropolitan cities are still in the red zone and bound home. The containment zones and buffering zones are sealed and businesses are not allowed to reopen in these areas.
The marketplaces will be going all out in bringing the customers on their platforms. Price being a key factor here, there will be a plethora of new offers and exciting deals to engage the shoppers. The banks will also chip in to provide deals on credit cards and cashbacks. There will be some major faceshifts in the retail industry but the shopping will continue. The requirements of the products may change but there will always be the need of buying new items and getting great deals.
The multi-stores will only open specific outlets depending on their zones, hence the profit will be marginal. The offline stores have to come up with new ideas to keep the attention of the new digital shopper. They have to provide better services, promising products and great deals to engage the shoppers. If the online shopping habits were breaking the backbone of the offline sector, things may get worse for the retailers.
With the effective lockdown many new businesses will be going bankrupt as well, while many others will be in debt. These businesses won’t be able to showcase the latest products and trends. These businesses will also be incapable of moving the old goods and products that are outdated. There will be very few relieving measures of such business units as they were independent but the current reopening will not be doing them any miracles. Many sectors will be reaching their quarter and annual targets of 2020 next year. This has setback their company goals to 5 years. As the stores will be focusing on getting the right merchandise for the next season, they will be investing more despite having no profits from the current one.
The Retailers Association of India (RAI) commented that the decision by the government to reopen stores is open for interpretation. The government used the term ‘market complexes’, which can have dynamic meaning. The RAI also said that bearing in mind the current scenario and the lessons learnt, the government should permit the opening of all the stores regardless of zomes and products. The association believes that other stores can also follow the guidelines of grocery and medical stores to maintain social distancing. The short-term and long term effects of this reopening will soon be visible, but till then the retail sector can sit tight and prepare for the reopening.
The outcome is highly dependent on the upcoming statistics of the performance of the retail sector. It will vary from region to region. The retailers will have been extra cautious to not contribute in spreading the virus while trying to make a living. The non-essential retailers will have to learn their lessons from medical and grocery stores. The frequency of digital payments will also increase as people will try to avoid any physical contact or transaction. It won’t be surprising to see people hoarding outside non-essential stores to buy items they need, but it is unlikely to happen. The sudden increase in digital payments will be a positive news for payment applications and banks. The reopening is a new chapter in the pandemic history. It’s positive effects on the economy or the negative effects on the outbreak will soon present itself. In the meantime, we request you to stay home and stay safe.