The Retail Industry and COVID-19: How the Pandemic Will Affect Buying and Selling
COVID-19 has put the world to a standstill. Everyone is in their homes. Businesses and establishments have been shut down. Factories and plants have been closed indefinitely. Unless your business provides essential products and services, companies and shops have ceased operations.
These are unprecedented times we’re living in. The only precursor to this is the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak in China back at the turn of the century.
While that incident has pretty much accelerated the development of e-commerce in the country, COVID-19’s reach is greater and wider as we’re dealing with a global health crisis that has affected all businesses in the entire world.
Most retailers will make the shift to online selling.
Just as SARS has helped move people onto the digital platform, the current pandemic will make every retailer seriously consider taking their business online, especially if there are a lot of testimonies of successful transitions.
A lot of notable retailers and brands have already positioned themselves online over the past decade. This probably has to do with their respective business strategies of widening their reach and establishing their brands in the online marketplace.
Similarly, the COVID-19 pandemic will be an eye-opener for businesses and establishments who have yet to foray onto the digital market. With everyone at home, sales from online shops have experienced a significant spike while brick-and-mortar sales have tremendously dipped over the first quarter of 2020.
There will be mixed results for retailers and online sales.
One thing to take note of is that going digital will guarantee success for your business. Analysts have already predicted that certain e-commerce industries and categories will benefit the most at this time.
You may have the best products in your line of business, the best shipping rates, the most outstanding warranty management, even the most efficient and friendliest of staff but at this time, people are prioritizing their purchases according to what’s important and needed at home to survive.
It will eventually pan out for non-essentials as the community experiences some sort of stability as the threat of the coronavirus gets contained. But in the meantime, with the limited resources that people have right now, purchases will mostly be about home necessities and those needed for survival.
There will be a surge in retail and shopping apps.
With the current trend of everyone going online for their purchases, expect that there will be an influx of retail, shopping, and logistics apps for different digital devices.According to Poq Commerce, downloads for retail apps in March 2020 have reached its highest level, second only to Black Friday 2019.
What about shopping malls?
Retailers have already shown that the move to digitalization is a lucrative one even before this global health crisis. Online marketplaces abound and platforms such as eBay and Amazon all have different retailers selling through their sites.
Shopping malls are technically physical marketplaces with different vendors and retailers found under one roof. They can take their existing structure and move it online to allow their loyal customers to still visit and purchase, albeit virtually, from their favorite shops.
The COVID-19 health crisis is changing the way we live, including the way we handle our business. One thing is for sure, once this pandemic is over, things will never be the same again for the retail industry.