Retail Transformation丨 7 Questions For Retail Brands Impacted by COVID-19

By Annabella Zhuang

retail transform As a brand consultant working in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, one of the most expensive and busiest shopping centers in the world, I can see the changes and feel the pains since October 2019. A lot of shops have shut down since the protests started, exacerbated by the coronavirus.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had such a profound impact on the global economy and consumer behavior, it has brought a lot of businesses, especially retail businesses to a standstill. However, every business leader must be ready to bounce back and return in a more confident and stronger way. This requires rethinking current branding and marketing dogma and preparing for strategies that may bring more benefits in the future.

Here are some questions for all owners and CMOs of retail businesses:

  • What are the biggest challenges of my business now?
  • How long can my cash flow maintain my business as normal?  
  • Can I renegotiate cheaper or more flexible terms with my landlord?
  • How can I still keep engaging with my audience even when I can not open my physical stores?
  • What’s the biggest cost of my marketing expenditures? Is the result still satisfying now?
  • Is it possible to transform my marketing/digital plan to be more adaptable?
  • Are there any government funds I can apply to?
These questions can help you to understand what your business priorities are, and optimize your costs in this new environment.  

1. Change your attitude towards it

Yes, no one can opt-out of this pandemic. But the best way we can do is change our attitude towards it. I saw a graphic that was getting popular and I found it very interesting, and how your attitude will influence your colleagues, clients, and the whole community.   covid 19

2. Set an action plan 

As a business leader, take action and look for ways to adapt.  I found a McKinsey & company’s retail practice report to be very interesting and practical. “Short term actions” for “navigating the now” and “Longer-term considerations for shaping the future”   short term prioritieslong term priorities  

3. Track and maximize ROI

Since a lot of offline campaigns and marketing budgets have gone to online and digital platforms, our goal is to maximize its ROI, connecting the right audiences with a relevant message and call to action. The real challenge for the company is ROI. It is important to combine brand, consumer experience, and business with performance strategy, which enables your company to effectively manage. At the very first stage, it is critical to connecting with the consumer, driving conversations, and improving CPUs. Sometimes, working with creative campaign concepts that challenge consumers may bring breakthroughs.  

4. China Market Adaption 

For the brands which highly depend on China Market, here are some quick tips to help you stay busy, turn digital, and actively engage with the most valuable clients. 1) Review and integrate your customer data into CRM systems and internal corporate communication systems 2) Set marketing strategies for Daigou group (professional-shopper group 3) Optimize online purchase experiences 4) Differentiation of experience between owned channels such as WeChat Official Account,  eCommerce stores, Mini Programs (Ali, WeChat, Douyin) 5) Payments optimization 6) Omni-Channel Engagement In the next article, we will discuss how we can learn from brands in China, and embrace these changes. Retail Business





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