Hemant Jain, Director, KKCL
“I don’t feel business will decline forever. It will decline but for a short while. Like in cricket, the game is not over if it is hindered by rains, only some overs are reduced but the score remains the same and in order to square the score players focus on hitting the ball to the boundary or over the boundary. Similarly we will have to focus on our ticket size. So if the ticket size grows maybe we will sustain but our priority should be hygiene and safety and we have to convey this message to our customers, that if you walk in to our stores it is safe. So, if we can communicate a sense of safety to our customers maybe retailers will be able to sustain their business.”
As COVID-19 is likely to lead to a huge decline in customer footfall, retailers will have to come up with new ways to run their businesses and generate profits. One of the first things that retailers should do is priortise on safety norms in their stores. “Unless customers are confident about safety in stores, they will not walk in,” said Hemant Jain, Director, KKCL at #2 webinar organized by DFU Publications-DFU LIVE in association with TRRAIN on the subject ‘Customer Centric Approach: Reaching out to the Customers, at their doorsteps?’ in the webinar on the theme: ‘Consumer Bulao, Retailer Jitao’ (Spiking Consumption, Winning the Customer Back. “Though loyal customers will continue to visit, retailers will have to enhance consumer engagement by focusing on relation building and communication,” he added.
Focus on digital technologies, offer more variety
Jain observed currently, two sectors operate in India; the organized and the unorganized sector. “The unorganized sector has around 13.8 million family run businesses as compared to only 10 per cent in the organized sector. The sector mainly comprises a strong database of small retailers who have a good rapport with their customers,” he explained. However, these retailers need to increase focus on digital technologies. “They need to create their own websites and reach out to their customers. If customers are unable to visit stores, these retailers need to reach out to their customers through mails, Wattsapp or through their portals,” Jain said.
Retailers should also offer customers a wide range of products besides allowing them to take trial before charging them for the garment. “Besides, retailers must also offer easy exchange and alteration facilities. Unless we bring about these changes, we will not be able to sustain our businesses. We should also chart out an incentive program for store salesmen on the basis of commission on the sale made by an individual,” he opined.
Explore festive opportunities
Jain highlighted, one of the positive things to happen in future is the number of approaching festivals in the country. “We can encash on these by increasing our engagement with customers. We should reach out to them at their door step and increase our ticket size. Only if we make these changes, we will be able to sustain our businesses,” he said.
Jain doesn’t expect the fashion business to decline for long. “It will decline for a short while,” he said. “Like when a game of cricket is hindered by rains, only some of overs are reduced, similarly we will have to focus on our ticket size. Only if our ticket size grows, we will be able to sustain. But, our priority should be on maintaining hygiene and safety standards and communicating the same to our customers,” he summed up.