It has been more than a month since the lockdown and physical distancing restriction was enforced. We have seen how retail giants like Myers, Big W, and JB Hi-Fi experiencing online sales growth during the lockdown, which was once a small contributor to their revenue. It looks like when people are locked inside and income was halted, their spending habit remains consistent. As we successfully stayed at home and flattened the curve, the public is waiting to return to their normal lives like before.
Finally, the government announced to lift restrictions around the country by implementing the 3-stage plan last week. However, people should not forget the fact that the same virus can still be circulating in their community. Giant retailers are first to return to their stance. Chains like MYER, Kathmandu and Adairs are beginning to trial re-opening but with a different angle.
The crisis has forced a lot of employees reduce their working hours or in worst case being made redundant. As unemployment rises, purchasing power and customer's confidence also drops. This makes the market very uncertain as relapsing takes some time. Retailers understand this and they are setting strategies to see which store get the most benefit from opening first.
Aside from gradually opening stores, there will also be changes in how retailers operate. You may have seen your nearest supermarket having an employee wipe down baskets, providing sanitizers upon entry and even enforcing the 1.5-meter rule. This, I think will remain in place as long as the threat still exists.
We are going to see retailers pushing out the excess inventory they have during the lockdown by sale and discount promos.
The retail industry has been reshaped by the virus. When Prime Minister Scott Morrison talked about snapping back, retailers won’t see the same shopping behaviour as before.
Online shopping shift is likely to stay after the restrictions are lifted, whether it is home delivery, click-and-collect, or subscription service.
Shipping is now faster than ever. The demand surge in online shopping pushes Australia post to provide fast and cheap shipping around Australia and is expected to keep its performance.
This is now the best time to invest in platforms that can provide the in-store shopping experience. As the virus are still in circulation and people are more aware of hygienic issues. Customers will find great value when shopping online with a in-store experience and will likely stay on your website longer.
For retailers that don’t have an e-commerce platform, they should also start investing in one soon! If there is anything positive that we can take from the COVID-19 outbreak, it would be the booster for e-commerce in Australia.
The core of in-store shopping lies in the availability of the sales assistant. A sales assistant guide customers into making better purchases which most e-commerce stores usually lack, and this is why offline stores convert better than online stores. Preezie will help your business to simulate a sales assistant experience by creating a guided conversion platform that will help your customers make better purchases.