The first two fiscal quarters of 2020 were disastrous for the global economy. The lockdowns and stay-at-
home orders have caused an unpreceded drop in trading; one that wasn’t seen since the Stock Market
Crash of 1929. Marketing Agencies and small businesses were hit the most, as millions of people filled for
unemployed in Australia alone.
However, mid-size retailers weren’t spared either, although most of them successfully rose to the
challenge. The lessons learned from these enterprises can show the road to recovery after the pandemic
to thousands of other businesses.

Read our previous article on the impact COVID has had on ecommerce & advertising.

covid impacts retailers

First time shopping online?

The switch from brick and mortar business to online shopping is not surprising considering the fact that
all world governments are urging people to stay at home. However, the rise in online sales is not
homogenous in structure. Apart from people who now shop more online, an entirely new consumer
base has emerged consisting of people who are shopping online for the first time.
As conversion rates rise, mid-size retailers are preparing to keep at least a percentage of newbie online
shoppers once the crisis is over. Most of these buyers will stick with a certain brand organically but in
other cases, retailers should look to engage new online shoppers at least until the end of 2020.

Read How we helped business pivot to online sales during the Corona Virus.

Constant fluctuation in sales

At the onset of the crisis, the sales plummeted within a single week in February. However, as people
slowly got used to the new reality and started organizing their lives, the sales picked up in March and April, at least in Australia.

Such violent fluctuations are something retailers expect to happen in the future as well. Since it is
impossible to predict the course the COVID-19 pandemic will take, the fluctuations in sales are likely to
continue throughout the year.

A push in the right direction

The pandemic came swooping in and caught most business people off guard. Businesses had to think
fast to adapt to the utterly changed market situation. Surprisingly enough, this wasn’t a bad thing,
because the coronavirus outbreak was the push to change many entrepreneurs postponed for years.
For instance, retailers had an online shopping platform but it wasn’t modern or functional as the ones
their competitors had. Overhauling shopping apps would normally take months for lenient management
but the pandemic got the job done for them in a matter of weeks.

shopping with a mask normal

Time to revise and audit

As mentioned before, the numerous drops and spikes in sales allow for companies to have time to
rethink their business model when sales are slow. Conducting an audit or taking stock shuts the business
down for a while, so why not use the opportunity when sales are slow anyway?

If you decide to hire auditors, the it’s best to chose local companies. For instance, Linleobeak auditors and accounts in Glebe, Sydney will help get the job done. Travel bans and lockdowns are here to stay for the better half of 2020, so try to find local business partners whenever possible.

The second half of the year will be easier to plan

Every single business and marketing strategy created in 2019 went down the drain this year. However,
the second half of 2020 will prove much easier to plan and prepare for. Every Australian worker who
was able to work from home already made the switch, so the labour market is now more stable in the
sense of workers’ mobility.
Based on the final 2 quarters of 2020, it will be possible to pen a business plan for 2021 as well. Even
when the measures are lifted, things will not revert to pre-corona times overnight. In fact, the Australian
retail market may never be the same again.

Working remotely: The new normal

Working from home is one of the reasons that the economy won’t verbatim bounce back. Namely,
thousands of people have discovered that working remotely is not only possible but highly desirable and
profitable.
This type of work is slowing becoming the new normal and this is perhaps the most positive aspect of
the coronavirus crisis from the financial standpoint (the heath plight is dire, don’t get us wrong).
Workers in the retail industry no longer waste time commuting and don’t have to deal with
argumentative customers.

Read our Tips for working remotely here.

lets do a zoom call

Social responsibility: A new marketing avenue to pursue

Just as shoppers are getting used to the constraints in their daily lives, marketers are exploring new
avenues for promoting retailing businesses, as marketing trends shift. The COVID-19 pandemic, life-
threatening as it may be, offers a unique opportunity to help the local community and tacitly promote a
brand.
Conscientious retailers shouldn’t think twice before they offer help and support to medical staff,
governmental personnel, military, and first responders during the crisis. These people are in the front
lines of the battle for public health, so sharing your services and products with them is a moral duty (not
to mention an opportunity for free advertising).

 

Mobile conversion rates vs desktop conversions

The final strange occurrence mid-sized retailers have noticed is a growing gap between conversion rates
on desktops and mobile phones. The explanation behind this trend is that consumers are less mobile, as
they use their desktops and laptops to make purchases since lockdown measures include various
mobility bans. A mobile app is still important but the desktop version of the website should be
impeccable in terms of design and functionality.
The 8 lessons listed above are among the top things mid-size retailers have learned so far. The
coronavirus crisis is here to stay and you need to learn fast from the experience of retailers. That is the
only sustainable road to recovery in a post-corona business environment.

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