More than a year later, the Covid-19 Pandemic is still with us and its effects remain deeply felt globally. In Kenya for example, the pandemic is now spreading in places where it was barely felt before; in neighbouring Uganda, they recently closed educational institutions in order to curb the spread. This goes to show that we shouldn't take a backseat in protecting ourselves everyday by wearing masks, regular sanitization and maintaining a reasonable social distance whenever we are out in public.
In 2020, we shared some tips on the importance of businesses ‘going digital’ during this period, see here. One year later, we have seen that a good number of businesses who modified their strategies were able to remain profitable. From contactless services, to cost optimization methods, these retailers have been able to build adaptable business models in response to the pandemic.
Businesses and consumers that were able to go digital have helped mitigate the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
It is crucial to bear in mind that the pandemic may remain with us for a longer-than-expected period. The rapid, unprecedented change across the retail industry has visibly changed the way a majority of customers will be shopping going forward. Therefore, every retailer should consider restrategizing to adaptable business models. We must be prepared to continuously adapt to these changes in order to maintain a competitive edge in the retail marketplace.
Digital Strategies Adopted by Retailers 2021
1. Automation Technology and Social Media Trends
Several retailers adopted the use of technology in their stores in order to help them run their business seamlessly; this includes the use of POS systems and mobile apps. This has allowed them to record their sales while getting to know how much profit they make daily. Additionally, it has enabled them to have records of products they have in stock real time while stocking up on new products without delay.
Technology has also enabled retailers to offer their customers automated payment options such as mobile money and card payment– which has also helped reduce physical contact and allow social distance. It is important to make informed decisions about the software solutions to adopt for your business. You could read more about the RetailPay POS solution here.
Adapting to the use of Social Media platforms has enabled retailers to increase their audience and customers. They are now able to share information on the services they provide, how they are adapting to new trends and what makes their products or services stand out. Social Media is a free ticket of access to an endless number of people.
Jumia reported a 50% jump in transactions in the first six months of 2020.
2. More retailers are offering personal shopping services
People are embracing more of online shopping, meaning, they are able to browse anything they need online and have them delivered. Due to this, retailers have had to take their businesses a notch higher by offering ‘free goods delivery’ especially to their customers who are within the area.
According to a recent study, in 2020, nearly 41% of customers said they were currently shopping online for things they would normally buy in-store.
Even without an ecommerce platform, some retailers have come up with creative ways such as creating WhatsApp groups and sharing details on available products so that the clients could place orders there. Hear directly from some of our retailer partners here. An ecommerce platform would definitely be a good investment in the near future.
3. Retailers are using Social Media platforms and Influencers
An active Social Media presence helps introduce your audience to your brand or business, which is a major driver of the customer journey and online sales. Also, retailers have been able to create captivating content while also forming great partnerships with other brands. Social channels are an ideal way for retailers to connect with new customers and showcase or release new products.
Being online enables you to share a personal touch about your brand which will help your customers relate with you better. According to Marketing Evolution, roughly 71% of consumers prefer to purchase from brands that they feel align with their personal values: Growing concerns around data privacy means that people expect transparency from brands.
“There’s an enormous opportunity for industries that are still more used to physical shopping, such as fast-moving consumer goods and pharmaceuticals.” Yomi Castro - Founder, Inveon.
Retailers are also tapping into new audiences through Social Media influencers by sending them some of their products to use and review. The influencers then tag the said retailers’ pages so that people may visit their online stores and shop from them. Influencer marketing is a fairly new trend which has enabled brands and businesses to both increase their sales and grow their digital footprint.
2020 was the major turning point for the retail industry, rapidly promoting industrial innovation. It's a good time for business owners to take a step back and assess changes in customer behavior and recent advances in retail technology and create more permanent digital transformation strategies.