New rules of Quarantined Economics – Opportunities amid crisis.
As the world has quarantined itself with the emergence of Covid-19 or coronavirus as a global pandemic.
Quarantine definition states “a state, period, or place of isolation in which people or animals that have arrived from elsewhere or been exposed to the infectious or contagious disease are placed.”
The impact of Covid-19 is being felt across industries and sectors. No country seems to be immune to this coronavirus.
Few statistics of its impact..(as I pen this article)
– Over 300,000 affected and over 11,000 causalities.
– Lockdown in major business hubs of the world.
– Cancellation of all the major global business events.
– Curfew imposed in major cities.
– Air travel has come to a complete halt affecting travel retail.
– Shock waves in the financial markets across the globe (Nasdaq, dow jones, Sensex, etc)
– The hospitality sector is worst hit with major cancellations etc
– Entertainment sector (family entertainment units, movie theatres, fine dining options) & the list goes on.
The Retail sector is also not immune to covid-19 either.
Retailers have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by shuttering their doors. In the last few days, a number of major retailers and brands announced their temporary closures in the U.S., and also in our Middle East region major shopping centers are now closed for a period of two weeks.
Governments across the world and various financial institutions are providing stimulus to safeguard their economies.
learn more about the impact of covid-19 on retail, read here.
New rules of Quarantined Economics – Opportunity amid Adversity
With so much negativity in Media, let me narrate a few examples from retail & brands which are proving beneficial for the industry.
Beating the Covid-19 with creative marketing – For the quarantined economy.
The automotive industry has been one of the first to adapt, shifting its offering from showroom to social media.
In China, Mercedes Benz ran a campaign on the WeChat app that let their customers see a 360-degree interior view of its GLB SUV.
Nike has been posting at-home workout videos on TikTok, replacing weights with water bottles. Fitness apps, that offer home workout routines, have also reportedly seen an upsurge of downloads.
Finding the CSR purpose: Defeating covid-19.
Meanwhile, in the UK, beauty brand Lush made reference personal hygiene vigilance with their recent hand-washing campaign. Store posters – which encouraged customers to come inside to wash their hands for free. A perfect example of showing “You Care” and gather some traction in difficult times.
Diageo (the liquor giant) is pledging more than eight million bottles of hand sanitizer, by donating up to two million liters of alcohol to manufacturing partners, to help protect frontline healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19.
In a bid to protect small and medium-sized beauty businesses such as salons and perfume shops from folding under the economic impact of the crisis, L’Oréal group has said it will defer payments due from its distribution networks.
In Switzerland, fragrance maker Firmenich has adapted its production to donate 20 tons of disinfectant solution to the Geneva University Hospital (HUG), and medical and emergency services.
New rules of Quarantined Economics- Reallocate human resources to different areas
Instead of immediate cost-cutting measures, one thing most retail companies can do and should do is to reallocate their manpower i.e. post mall closures to boost their eCommerce deliveries.
(Note- I am glad to state that the MAF group has already allocated their staffs from leisure division to their hypermarket division.)
New rules of Quarantined Economics- Pivoting to eCommerce & Social commerce.
One of the major malls in the Middle East announced its plans of taking the entire mall offerings i.e. all the tenant’s brands to their online eCommerce platform. This is a welcome move in the current scenario.
Lin Qingxuan (a Chinese cosmetics retailer) was forced to close 40% of its stores during the crisis, including all its locations in Wuhan.
Yet, the company redeployed its 100+ beauty advisors from those stores to become online influencers who leveraged digital tools, such as WeChat, to engage customers virtually and drive online sales.
As a result, its sales in Wuhan achieved a 200% growth compared to the prior year’s sales.
The majority of Perfume & cosmetics manufacturers in the Middle East region pivoted their product range by immediately responding to the rising demand for hygiene products like Sanitizers and tissues and masks.
New rules of Quarantined Economics – Focus on reskilling or upskilling.
The majority of retailers will push for e-learning modules for training their employees and sales personnel as this downturn time can be utilized for imparting training online.
Online learning platforms like Udemy, unacademy, etc will see an upsurge in their enrollments.
Learn how Tjmaxx is fighting retail apocalypse, click here.
New rules of Quarantined Economics – How Brands can maintain engagement with customers
Content is king: Create interesting, shareable content that will appeal to customers and build brand recall. Check out the example of Nissan in the Middle East region asking people to stay indoors and safe.
Be active on social media. Engage with consumers directly.
Case study: Burberry AI-enabled experiential app.
Burberry has launched a new Augmented Reality (AR) shopping tool through Google Search technology.
The AR tool allows consumers to experience Burberry products embedded in the environment around them, enhancing their research and shopping experience online.
Watch the video here
I hope my readers would learn to see the opportunities even in the downturns. In case any of my retail fraternity members need my or help, feel free to reach out to me on firstname.lastname@example.org
About the author:
Ritesh Mohan is a passionate retail professional with over 22 years in the Retail sector, handling some of the biggest brands in beauty, fashion and fragrances retail & FMCG sector. He has been instrumental in the growth of some of the regional brands as well in the Middle East region. Ritesh specializes in Retail management, Product development, and Brand Management, Retail Operations, Sales Management and Franchising & Business Management. He believes in empowering business owners with his wisdom & experience of around two decades in the industry.