Last updated: COVID-19 and retail: Execs planning for current and future realities

COVID-19 and retail: Execs planning for current and future realities


Listen to article

Download audio as MP3

COVID-19 has completely upended the retail industry. And in the wake of such dramatic upheaval, many businesses froze; choosing to see where the market would go before committing their (now restricted) budgets on any initiatives. The full impact of COVID remains to be seen, but what can retailers do to plan for the immediate future?

When it comes to digital transformation in the time of COVID-19, retailers cannot afford to halt their presence or their growth. On the contrary, now is the time to double down, ensuring they’re equipped with robust and flexible solutions that can withstand the current circumstances – and whatever may lie ahead.

Necessity as the mother of invention – or at the very least, the accelerator

“COVID-19 has become both an agent of change and an accelerator for pre-existing trends,” Keith Pires, SVP, Enterprise and BORN Group

When the pandemic forced the closure of brick-and-mortar stores, it disrupted the way traditional retailers do business. Suddenly, they needed to work even harder to stave off competition (and now more than ever, that competition includes the ease of buying basically anything off Amazon).

COVID-19 and retail: much of what we’ve seen seems to be an acceleration of where we were already headed – customer experiences that are:

  • Highly personalized
  • Highly flexible
  • Highly transparent

Growing consumer demands coupled with a shortened supply chain. To remain innovative and accessible across multiple touchpoints, they needed to create a seamless digital customer experience – and fast.

In a recent webinar, Keith Pires mentioned the paradigm shift many commerce businesses are seeing from focusing on their unique selling proposition – the thing that gives them their edge over the competition – to focusing on their customers’ unique buying proposition. To succeed, retailers need to cater to their customers’ needs as those needs change.

This requires collecting information from clients at every stage of the buying journey and creating a holistic view of the experience, identifying potential pain points, and using that information to design a unified experience.

COVID-19 and retail: The future of commerce is in the cloud

In addition to the need to meet customers’ ever-changing needs while navigating the closure of brick-and-mortar stores, retailers have had to contend with the growing need to operate their businesses remotely. To lower costs and reduce complexity, many corporations have moved from on-premise to cloud-based data storage.

Cloud storage allows corporations to easily connect with customers, clients, and other businesses at a reduced cost. There’s also a reduction in deployment time, which is especially significant in the current market.

The crisis has highlighted the importance of business agility and resilience, which are strong drivers for deploying in the cloud.

But corporations placing a heavy emphasis on security and control would probably find more comfort with on-premise data storages and must factor in that this will still require on-site support.

The road ahead: retail after reopening

As we look ahead to when restrictions are lifted, retailers should plan for a gradual reopening. Don’t expect things to go back to normal, because the landscape has been permanently changed.

By continuing to offer transformative buying experiences and ideally blending the digital innovations born from necessity with their more traditional in-store experiences, businesses will earn customer trust and loyalty.

Consumers have changed how they shop. The pandemic expedited the transformation. Now it’s on us to adapt.

Shifting retail landscapes.
Varying buying behavior.
What makes people click “buy”?
We’ve got the answers HERE.

Share this article


Search by Topic beginning with