The COVID-19 outbreak transformed the value chain and sales channels in retail

During the COVID-19 period, the fact that many companies closed their stores to minimize risk and encourage consumers to stay at home left the conventional sales model behind. As digital commerce became one of the only channels available during these times, more responsibility than ever falls on its players. We can say that it is a less stressful period for companies that have started their digital transformation before the pandemic and already have digital commerce operations alongside know-how specific to their target group.

Some best practices from China

At this point, social media offers important opportunities. China’s largest underwear and lingerie company, Cosmo Lady, has launched a program to boost sales through WeChat. Cosmo Lady employees promoted the products to their social circles. Team coordination and motivation were increased with the participation of the CEO and board members. This reflected positively on the companies’ sales.

Instant noodle and beverage producer Master Kong continued to monitor the changing dynamics in the market on a daily basis and regularly reprioritized its strategic efforts for the future. It has turned its focus from large retail channels to O2O (online-to-offline), e-commerce and smaller stores. It has consistently followed the re-opening plans of retail outlets, adapting the supply chain in a highly flexible manner. As a result, the supply chain showed more than 50% improvement just a few weeks after the epidemic and Master Kong was able to supply its products to 60% of re-opened stores during this period. This means the company has recovered 3 times faster than some of its competitors.

How to be prepared?

As Inveon, we have taken an important step by connecting the main inventories of our customers to digital channels for those who chose to convert from conventional stores to online ones. By providing a correct and timely flow of customer data we enabled our customers to agilely put all their focus on digital communication and promotions.

During the quarantine period, we would like to emphasize that more sales can be achieved by drawing on the leveraging power of marketplaces. Integrating with suitable marketplaces or increasing both product range and variety of existing ones may attract new customers, as well as higher revenue. 11% of consumers have already started spending more time in marketplaces that are offering multi-brand options.

We expect that some changes in customer behavior and expectations during this period will become permanent. This can help us prepare for the future starting now. In recent years, we have been talking about how physical stores have become experience hubs in the retail sector. Now we can say that this transition will be much faster.

During this period, it is important to determine company strategies by focusing on consistency with a long-term and holistic perspective. Digital transformation seems to become a must more than an option for retailers and consumer goods companies, while e-commerce will continue to grow at a pace faster than ever before. Finally, companies need to maintain and further improve their omnichannel functioning in commerce.

Share This!