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Everyone around the world is bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic and this has compelled many businesses specially those selling non-essential items to come to a grinding halt resulting in a slump in revenues. In the offline retail sector, non-essential businesses like Hennes & Mauritz, popularly known as H&M reported a fall of 74% in its sales in India for the quarter ending May 20201. Trader's body, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has revealed that the country's retail trade lost business worth INR 9 lakh crore in a span of 60 days2.
As India undergoes Unlock 2.0, offline retailers need to step up their efforts to ensure top notch customer service and bring their businesses back on track. It is no hidden fact that once retailers resume their businesses, they will face certain challenges to restart and survive their business. Let us have a look at some of these challenges, retailers might face and ways to overcome them.
Bringing customers back to the store will be one of the biggest challenges for at least the next few months. There will be change in the consumer behaviour and people might not want to step out of their houses and visit stores. One of the biggest strategies that offline retailers can adopt is to observe all safety measures and reassure their customers about the same. Apart from this, providing exciting EMI offers can help in winning back customers. With Pine Labs affordability offering, retailers can calculate EMI and prevailing rates and recommend the best offers to their customers right from the Pine Labs PoS. The option providing no-cost EMI directly at the PoS can help retailers sell products and especially the big-ticket items easily.
Another challenge that will be a major concern for offline retailers will be retaining customers. A shift in the consumer spend is already being witnessed and people are cutting down on leisure shopping. In such a situation, offering Loyalty solutions to customers can help retailers close sales faster and tide over these difficult times when they are aiming to bounce back from the disruption caused by the pandemic. This can be achieved by offering the convenience of making cashless payments using loyalty points at the point of sale.
With changes in customer behaviour, it is important for retailers to deliver what their customers expect, and to understand the same, the former should have access to valuable data insights. This is where the use of Analytics comes into play. Using Analytics, retailers can understand what their customers want and keep up with their customers' expectations accordingly.
Retailers must limit the use of cash and encourage digital and contactless payments. It is important for retailers to invest in technologies that can support them in acceptance of digital payments. Pine Labs' newest offering, Plutus QR allows retailers to give their customers the option of quick scan and pay using a static QR code.
There will be great disruptions in the supply chain management and retailers will have to repurpose their strategy to meet the demands of customers. The inventory and logistics need to be planned in a streamlined manner until businesses return to normalcy. The integration of third-party billing apps with the PoS device is something that can be considered to achieve it.
Now is the time for retailers to make the best use of technology and solutions to revive their businesses once the pandemic is over.
1 Source: H&M India sales fall 74% during March-May quarter
2 Source: India's retail trade lost business worth Rs 9 lakh cr in last 60 days: CAIT
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