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“Today, online contributes to 7% of biz & is on track to grow 5x of pre-COVID-19 times”

Shrugging off the disruptions of last year, businesses and agencies are looking for a strong revival in 2021. Adgully – as part of our annual TRENDING NOW endeavour – has been presenting the strategies and views of a cross-section of industry leaders as they go about reclaiming lost time and market opportunities and build for a stronger future, armed with the lessons of 2020.

In conversation with Adgully, Uma Talreja, Chief - Marketing and Ecommerce at Shoppers Stop Ltd, speaks about the omni-channel transformation of the brick-and-mortar brand in the pandemic times, change in consumption patterns, growing contribution of online to the overall business and more.

Outlook for 2021

Omni channel marketing: We have been hearing this word for a while now, and this will get extremely important in 2021, especially as consumers navigate change in their lives with the COVID-19 situation. User experience is even more critical and using marketing channels to be easy and contextual basis consumer preferences will be even more crucial than before. 

Authenticity: As consumers are bombarded by fake and bad news at times, brands will do well by being authentic in their approach. Also, being well-researched and well-informed is critical to have the authoritative position that consumers can depend on. 

Brands as a learning ground: Personal growth is a very a big need and playing that role for consumers is a good opportunity to create a healthy relationship with consumers. Collaborations in this space will be a very big opportunity to extend consumer base. 

Great expectations

Responsible consumers and brands: The world and human beings do not need any more damage! Taking responsibility and ownership is very huge concern, and one can expect consumers as well as brands to be far more responsible towards the environment, health, and the community. 

Support local business: Even as travel resumes, consumers should support local businesses that are under severe pressure to survive owing to the pandemic.

Change in consumption: Consumption patterns will extend from lockdown behaviours. It will become a way of life on many aspects that were enjoyable and brought people and families together. 

On the business side, it appears that the pressure will continue till the Diwali season. I hope that the vaccination will bring about a good change and things will start looking bright for many sectors. 

Key learnings from 2020

Standing by our employees: We are an employee-centric organisation, and we take good care of our staff, especially during these unprecedented times. We prioritised their safety above anything else and ensured timely compensation for them. We invest time in their training and to help them hone their skills and become better resources.

Customer centric: We have empowered our customers to shop safely, comfortably, and at their convenience either in safety of stores with Personal Shoppers in a lounge, or through WhatsApp and video, or online on web/app. During the first phase of the lockdown, Shoppers Stop launched the White Glove Service for remote assistance and selling. Shoppers Stop served 2.4 lakh customers remotely during the pandemic. With various omni-channel initiatives like the White Glove service and Endless Aisle, customers can opt for these services and shop conveniently from home. Investing in training our Personal Shoppers and Beauty Advisors has helped them build a closer customer relationship over WhatsApp. Now, they are even more effortlessly approachable and ensure an incredible shopping experience.

Online Channel growth: As delivery was allowed, we ramped up the online growth, which is now at 2.5X the pre-COVID-19 era. Stabilised technology improved the delivery processes and the catalog management during COVID-19 to make online a critical part of the organisation and led a collaborative omni-channel transformation of the brick-and-mortar brand. Today, online contributes to 7% of business and is on track to grow 5x of pre-COVID-19 times, reaching 10% of the business, making it one of the most prominent digital channels from a brick-and-mortar player.

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