The Webinar #2 organized by DFU Publications-DFU LIVE in association with TRRAIN on the theme: ‘Consumer Bulao, Retailer Jitao’ (Spiking Consumption, Winning the Customer Back), saw experts highlighting the challenges involved in attracting customers back to stores given the change in mindset post Covid-19. They also came up possible ways to woo them back.
“The biggest challenge on our hands is to remove the fear. Consumers will not step out of their homes, unless they overcome this fear”, observed Manohar Chaitlani, CMD, Soch Retail. He explained one way to remove their fear is to offer a safe environment to shop. He also felt it was a matter of time as slowly consumers will come overcome this fear.
Referring to a recent research conducted during the lockdown, Rakesh Jallipally, COO, USPA & Flying Machine pointed out consumers as of now are suffering from low buying confidence due to their insecurity about future income. “But the positive side is, despite low footfalls in stores that have opened post-lockdown, there is high conversion into business.”
Elaborating on the subject ‘Customer Centric Approach: Reaching out to the Customers, at their doorsteps’, Hemant Jain, Director KKCL, stressed we will have to accept the fact that store footfalls will certainly be affected. “We will have to assure customers about safety and hygiene norms, keeping it above our business interests. The good thing is every entrant is a quality and genuine customer, solving half the problems.” He further added, “We will have to increase engagement and communication efforts with customers, offering better service, reaching out to his doorstep with more options, trying to increase ticket size.”
Speaking on, “Getting the new transformed store ready for safety, hygiene and technology”, Vipul Mathur, Business Head Udaan.com, stressed upon the need to strictly follow government guidelines to build customer confidence. He emphasized not only the safety and hygiene of customers but also our personal safety as well as the safety of retail staff is equally important. He suggested, we should minimize hand touch and feel, keep fliers with instructions that customers should only touch a garment, if interested in buying; once touched, the garments should be either ironed or the piece should be left untouched for the next two to three days to avoid virus spread.
B S Nagesh, Founder, TRRAIN the force behind the success of Shoppers Stop opined there is no doubt that the next six to nine months are going to be very tough for everyone. And suggested “positive and survival attitude, humility and building trust with customers, empowerment to retail employees and training retail employees to respond to situations are the few key ideas to address the situation.” He also highlighted the need to train retail employees in multitasking as stores may have to operate with lesser number of people to cut costs. Nagesh also put forth some future trends: “Work from home causing splurge in home textiles and environment friendly products, these could be added as our retail offerings as additional but allied categories.”
Ramesh Poddar, CMD, Siyaram shared his guru mantra, while wrapping up the webinar, “This is obviously a very unusual situation and all of us have already accepted the situation. Obviously, we will have to work together to get customers back to retail but we also need to keep a lot of patience, as results may not be quick,” he explained. Speaking about his personal observations after talking to thousands of retailers he said, small retailers are positive, though they face the challenge of luring customers back, after months of lockdown. He suggested retailers should try to retain old customers through a personalized approach and try to develop new customer base, with the help of technology. He suggested: “During the lockdown period, retailers also must think constructively on how to improve their working; developing more efficient working; not letting inventories get stuck; try quicker turnaround time; instead of overly getting worried about the present situation, as none of us are in position to control it.”
DFU Webinar also played recorded interviews of retailers and retail trade associations, who expressed their concern about the issues being faced. Many questions were also put up which were duly answered by expert speakers. The webinar was conducted on May 15, 2020 and got a huge response with over 2,000 attendees through Zoom and Facebook live streaming.
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