How retail industry is recalibrating its strategies in the post-pandemic world

Even as online shopping is seeing accelerated transition, physical retail remains popular among Indian consumers. According to a research by real estate consultancy CBRE, robust footfalls resulted in expansionary space take-up by local and foreign merchants, particularly between July and December 2022. Research from Accenture indicates that more than half of all retail sales will be influenced by the Internet in 2023.

The way to communicate and attract consumers has significantly changed over the last few years. Trends such as plant-based shifts, and growth in social commerce in the D2C sector have grown over the past few months. The important ongoing trend is ‘Conversational commerce’, which is about providing personalisation, convenience and support in such a way where you provide them with personal touch. Brands are reaching out to customers over their preferred social media platform – Instagram, YouTube or Facebook, etc.

“Digital technologies have been changing the retail industry significantly throughout the value chain, which in turn has also led to an increase in impatient retail customers with demands of same-day/ within 10 minutes delivery time,” noted Neha Kant, Founder and Chief Revenue Officer, Clovia. Although post-pandemic people are gradually getting back to offline shopping, there is no denying that consumers have got used to shopping from home. Augmented/ Virtual Reality helps in providing a virtual shopping experience with features like Try-Before-You-Buy. “Additionally, offline sales have been recovering, and when compared to pre-pandemic levels, we have seen double-digit improvement month over month in same-store sales,” Kant added.

Veena Ashiya, CEO & Founder, Monrow Shoes, emphasised that strategies are very important for brands to keep themselves positioned in the market. D2C brands faced several challenges during the Covid times as offline marketing was paused and there was lockdown everywhere. The sales garnered through retail channels offline were considerably less.

The fashion retail industry is shaping up to cater to the customer needs that are continuously evolving and is also indulging in providing an immersive customer experience. In addition to this, there is also ergo digital transformation across different functions. “The fashion industry will see huge amounts of innovation in coming years as new technology and changing customer trends and demands will transform the industry,” said Soumali Chakraborty, Head of Marketing, Arrow.

Changes in the industry and consumer behaviour have a mutual influence on each other. Fashion has always been about creating new trends and brands striving to win big from it. Marketers have started more sales tracking data, are giving attention to media coverage, focus groups, and other research tools to ascertain consumer preferences to provide feedback to designers and manufacturers about the type and quantity of goods to be produced. In the current times, the conscious consumer looks at products as a reflection of themselves, and hence, they invest more time and energy into putting together a perfect look.

Sreecharan, Vice President - Brand and Communications of Grasim Industries Limited | Pulp & Fibre | Liva, while stating that there have been significant changes in user behaviours and purchase patterns, also added that these changes weren’t abrupt and were evolving in response to multiple factors – disposable incomes, brands & offerings, e-commerce & social media influence to name a few. “If anything, it has taught us that no strategy is future proof and we need to be more agile and responsive to changing consumer demands,” he said.

The retail industry will grow as there will be a rise in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities with digital strategies such as rise in digital payments as well as the Internet. “Along with the market demand from urban and rural areas, online shopping is also going to increase. India is a promising market for retailers and its D2C brands are adopting the digital route for a seamless service to the consumers. The industry will follow the ongoing trends to keep itself positioned in the retail market,” said Monrow Shoes’ Veena Ashiya.


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