The winds of change that have been blowing in the retail world for some years have become a reality: the Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated a noteworthy transformation in the retail segment, imposing new buying and consumption trends that will most likely remain settled in our culture even after this health emergency ends.
Even the most loyal to old school commerce must acknowledge the evidence: the future that awaits us has little to do with the past we have been used to. Better to react and adapt to the new normal.
How should we behave to re-emerge in the retail world and survive the waves of innovation?
Some ideas come from the predictions of Harley Finkelstein, COO of Shopify, a revolutionary e-commerce platform for businesses, used by over 800,000 stores around the world.
In a recent interview published by Quartz, the manager predicted which retail trends imposed by the Covid era will likely change, perhaps forever, the way we sell and buy.
Riding the wave of retail transformations: here are three trends to keep an eye on
According to Harley Finkelstein, consumers’ buying behaviour and their approach to brands have definitely changed.
Here are the three pieces of evidence to bear in mind:
1. Act for the good of the community and you will be rewarded
A first lesson that applies especially to small and independent businesses is that customers no longer seek only quality products, but embrace the philosophy and show themselves well-disposed (translated: they are willing to pay more) towards retail brands and shops that understand and satisfy their needs. First of all, in this period, the need of making purchases in safety and convenience without asking the customer – already exasperated by fear and restrictions – too much effort or compromise. Maximum sensitivity also to the support of the local community and ethical causes: show attention to the needs of others and you will obtain advantages in terms of reputation and revenues.
2. Online is no longer an option
Small shops, neighborhood shops, service providers: if you think that the world of online shopping does not concern you, you are wrong. Restrictions on mobility, long lockdown periods and the search for safety through interpersonal distancing, have imposed a reshuffle in the way of selling and buying.
And if it is true that bricks and mortar stores will remain, it is equally certain that on their own they will no longer be able to prosper, and that their presence will have to be rethought within a broader commercial strategy.
In short, those who are not online will not survive either today or in the future because even when the pandemic ends, consumers will not return to pack stores.
Even if you are not a large multinational company with IT and marketing employees, you can still go online without too much effort: complex e-commerce platforms are not essential, but operational flexibility is a must.
Among the most agile and performing omnichannel strategies you can opt for click & collect formulas (online order and collect in the store to preserve customer safety), you can enhance the delivery service (to reach customers everywhere), or take advantage of the novelty of the video shopping, ShopCall, to increase sales (to offer a rewarding and valuable shopping experience where the shopkeeper can still advise customers during their purchases, even remotely).
3. Small shops regain altitude
In a time of great crisis, consumer behaviour was split in half: a share of customers took refuge in large multinational brands, seeking protection and the comfort of guarantees, while an increasingly larger swath of buyers took to the streets – metaphorically speaking – to support local business and enhance diversity.
“Shop local” seems to have become the mantra of the moment, and the beneficiaries are the small businesses which until now have been somewhat overwhelmed by the global avalanche.
If you are part of it, ride the moment: the weapons to be unsheathed are empathy, reliability and (virtual) closeness, overcoming the physical barriers of the necessary social distancing through digital tools capable of humanising shopping (see point 2, under the heading video shopping with ShopCall).
Keep up the good work!