The world has turned upside-down for nearly every retailer. Retailers need to think about agility and resilience across every customer touchpoint in order to minimize losses and maintain positive customer relationships during times of extreme change and uncertainty. To help retailers manage through the imminent ups and downs as efficiently and effectively as possible, Kibo has gathered expertise into an eight-point Retail Preparedness Guide.
Now that the country has entered the “hurry up and wait” phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, retailers have a unique opportunity to map out a strategy to not only make it through the next weeks of uncertainty, but to ensure a successful ramp-up as restrictions across the globe relax and change throughout Q2. While some elements of our current retail lockdown will slowly go back to normal, many aspects will be changed forever.
You can read a quick summary of a few of the best practices included in the guide below, or download the full version here.
Prioritize The Customer Relationship Over The Long Term
In a few months, the panic and uncertainty may subside, and brands need to maintain trust and loyalty with customers to drive sales through the rest of the year. Brands that focus only on their own internal goals, and ignore the needs of customers, will be damaged come Q4. Read more here.
Embrace New Forms Of Fulfillment
Retailers quickly have to change their fulfillment methods, but these changes will likely create lasting changes in consumer expectation. Retailers can put a central team in place to communicate better across channels, and work to automate their online fulfillment options, connecting digital and location-based information into a single strategy. Explore the full best practice here.
Add Fulfillment Flexibility To Absorb Spikes And Dips In Demand
The faster retailers can pivot and drive more orders to other channels, the less pain they’ll feel from a single change to fulfillment. Retailers need to evaluate the flexibility of the entire fulfillment network. Amazon is shutting down non-essential shipments into their distribution center. Create a plan to quickly tap into other fulfillment options like an eCommerce outlet or using other retailers to fulfill. Continue reading here.
Streamline eCommerce Returns
For many retailers, returns become especially concerning as customers order more, but are less likely to actually leave their homes to drop returns at physical shipping locations.
Retailers need to weigh long-term changes to return policies such as much longer windows are made much easier when companies have a good view of the costs and trade-offs that result. For more on streamlining ecommerce returns, click here.
Create A Sensitive Pricing And Promotional Messaging Strategy
COVID-19 messaging will have to run deeper than a few corporate notes as customers interact with retailers over the long term. Every customer touchpoint should be reviewed for a possible new messaging approach.
Social media, comments and customer listening tools can help brands pick up on changes regionally and in near real time and adjust as necessary. Read more about sensitive pricing and promotional messaging here.