Global pandemic has exposed and sped up several recent trends in consumer behavior. Consumers are more likely to try and adopt new technologies, experiment with innovative delivery modes, payment options or interact with providers digitally. Trusted brands and savvy offerings are the most likely winners. Betting on pleasant brick-and-mortar shopping experience, introducing new brands or selling pricy discretionary items have been challenging.
During last years, many traditional retailers have upgraded their outlets to create exquisite shopping atmosphere. Store ambiance, layout, quality furniture, natural materials, high-tech checkouts set traditional stores apart from their low-cost online competitors. Offline stores created strong reasons to visit. Many shoppers got used to enjoy luxury in-store and austerity at home. Social distancing and remote work have reversed the fortunes. Detached consumers are likely to spend more time at home and may desire to upgrade their homes, whereas public places remain visited less frequently and for shorter cycle times.
Previously, online presence was a welcome add-on to many traditional retailers. Physical outlets of online chains have been springing up like mushrooms after the rain. This all changed this year, where online is in many countries the only growing part of any retail business. Online presence is a must and key to survival. No more, retail chains have a choice whether they go online. Retail sales per square footage (or square meter in continental Europe) have gone down. It looks like that retail space will be further shrinking – shops will become even smaller and some shopping parks and malls may soon be added on the list of zombie malls.
Stakes are high and both traditional and online retailers have a fair chance to rebound. Focus on health and personal care, well-being and fitness, organic and fresh produce, handicrafts, home entertainment and home improvement creates opportunities for all retail. Travel of all kinds and outdoor leisure, dining, big-ticket items or formal clothing are hard hit, regardless whether they have been sold from physical or virtual sites. All retail benefits from greater focus on sustainability, large amounts of data about shoppers, alternative fintech payment options and denser delivery services, where customers have a choice to choose their delivery time. Onliners in particular need to further bond with customers, create a reason to come back often, bolster loyalty, find ways to more effective cross-selling and upselling or build more engaging content around their assortment. Offliners could switch completely to digital alternatives for long-lived marketing practices such as loyalty cards, coupons or in-store promotion, use their stores for BOPUS (buy online, pick-up in store), COPUS (customize online, pick-up in store – for customized items and additional services) or MOPUS (manufacture online, pick-up in store – for on-demand bespoke items), and for offering new personal(-ized) services, which are hard to do online altogether.
Once business finds the new normal, it may well be no more meaningful to distinguish between traditional and online retail. Blurred lines between various retail formats and methods are likely to be even less visible. A truly integrated unobtrusive omnichannel shopping experience spun around our individual customer journey may be the outcome. In every crisis lies opportunity – for retailers this a chance not to let conscious consumerism go down in history.
Pojďme nakupovat (online): Mizející hranice mezi tradičními a online obchody
Globální pandemie vytváří nové překážky a příležitosti pro tradiční i online maloobchod. Zatímco ještě před rokem byl digitální eshop příležitostí k dodatečnému výdělku pro tradiční řetězce, aktuálně se stal nutností či dokonce podmínkou přežití. Mnohé produktové kategorie se ocitly v krizi, mnohem hlubší u obchodníků, kteří včas nenabídli zákazníkům dostatečně kvalitní kapacity digitální distribuce. Budoucí příležitosti a výzvy však stojí i před online retailery. Pokud výsledkem rapidních tržních změn a zrychlené akceptace nových technologií zákazníky bude další fúze obchodních formátů a metod, pak se již brzy ocitneme ve světě, kde hranice spotřebního a nespotřebního chování budou zcela setřeny.
Kontakt na autorov/Address
doc. Ing. Pavel Štrach, Ph.D., Ph.D., ŠKODA AUTO Vysoká škola o.p.s., Katedra marketingu a managementu, Na Karmeli 1457, 293 01 Mladá Boleslav, Česká republika, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org