What smart businesses are doing to increase sales during Covid-19
COVID 19 has changed our life to an extent where the future is uncertain and most of us are still trying to adapt to the new normal.
When it comes to business industries some of us might never recover, whilst others have had to take drastic measures to keep up with the new way of doing business.
The gig economy, for example, is experiencing its worst nightmare by putting the millennials and generation Z into serious financial struggles. Brian Chesky the CEO of Airbnb made a statement recently saying "It took us 12 years to build Airbnb, and we lost almost everything in four to six weeks". Airlines may never recover and outbound tourism won't be a thing for some time. It will be the same for industries like Entertainment. But on the plus side, the technological advancements and automation have doubled up its speed.
According to an e-commerce industry report by Australia Post, In April 2020, 5.2 million Australians have shopped online to an amount worth A$ 2.7 billion. When compared to April 2019, this is a 95% year on year increase in online purchases. The future retail industry will be shaped according to these signals. If you are a business, regardless of the size, you will have to adapt to the demands of this new world.
Girl waiting at a Supermarket with social distance
Putting the customer first in 2020 has gone up a level. People take health and safety more seriously and businesses are forced to put the health and safety of the customers at the centre of the business. Initial steps won't be that hard or costly, but to keep up with the competition and to secure their market position, going online and having an omnichannel e-commerce solution is becoming the only way.
When making the decision of going online, you have to consider a few factors. During the initial week of the lockdown, the customer experience for online purchases was nowhere near good enough.
A lot of users experienced out of stock messages, error in pricing, or expensive and extended delivery times. Even Coles and Woolworths had to temporarily hold their online shopping services as they couldn't handle the unexpected online traffic. The key takeaway is that you have to assess the digital capabilities of the online platform and the scalability of it as a futuristic measure.
Just having an online store won't save your market position. You will have to re-evaluate your customer experience.
Let's say for an example that you run a restaurant with ample parking space in downtown Melbourne. When it comes to selling online, your hassle-free parking experience won't count at all in your customer experience, so you will have to come up with user-friendly mobile applications, share offers through push notifications, adding live order tracking functionalities, measuring the lifetime value of the online customers and offer loyalty programs, including virtual or augmented reality experience to their customer journey, whilst offering contactless payment experience when paying on delivery.
This is a big task if you are a brick and mortar store just thinking about going online. The Million Dollar question would be, how can I fund such an investment? But if you observe how the industry giants are remodelling their business strategy, you will understand that the above is just the tip of the iceberg.
Let's talk about some industry giants to get an idea about where the Ship is heading. While we are focusing on entering the online market they are thinking about long term investments to redesign their process flows for online market efficiency and cost reduction.
Woolworths going to introduce cutting edge automation to its supply chain with an investment worth A$ 780 million. They will have a fully automated distribution centre in South West Sydney which will result in 1300 employees being replaced with robots. They will also be closing down 3 of their existing distribution centres.
British online grocery chain Ocado is practising an end to end grocery shopping solution where they have only automated warehouses. This could become the new normal in the retail industry where most of the companies are trying to keep up with their margins while offering competitive pricing on their home deliveries.
Ocado's grocery stacking technology that Coles going to implement in Australia.
Dark stores are already a thing where they’re located in the suburbs so that they can dispatch and deliver fast to the customers. Also, the overheard of these dark stores is much less than having a store at a shopping mall or an industrial park.
Downsizing or rightsizing is already at play. Having experience stores and shifting the business model to online sales is not new but COVID 19 has fast-tracked the process. Accent Group the footwear giant is planning on closing about 30 of their stores and many will follow.
The idea of this article was to share a sense of direction. It’s up to you to redesign your business model to be aligned with the post-pandemic world. When doing so we should consider the well-being of our employees as well. Best practices would be to use cloud computing to enable a remote working culture where everyone has access to work systems.
Let's hope we all will survive from the darkest year of the century as businesses.