These are tough times if you are a retailer, store or offline brand. the retail community is one of the sectors being hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. As retailers try to figure out how to navigate these uncertain times, we’re here to help, in our little way.
I hope this note finds you, your team and your loved ones as we all settle into the new normal — at least for the foreseeable future. These times are concerning, uncertain and has no playbook written to adhere to. Honestly, we don’t know how long this is going to last, and what the world would look like once it has. Hence, we’re penning this as our lens to view the world from your shoes, the same ones that make up ours.
While the world at large feels the weight in the midst of the Covid crisis, in the retail & commerce space, we deal with the overlap of not one but three crises. The three crises are (1) a health crisis (Covid-19) that has generated a (2) financial crisis, each of which has generated massive societal disruption which will generate a (3) mental health crisis for us all operating our businesses.
In addition, these are both localized (in a community), at a state level, a national level, and a global level. I write this from a country where nearly 2 billion people are under a nation-wide lock-down and curfew. our partners are across the world spanning some of the worst hit regions such as Madrid, New York and London. This is not just going to “be over.” That’s magical thinking. There will be many different phases of this, but if you prepare for a long-term experience, you’ll be in a much healthier place. Here’s what we’re seeing in the chasm:
Businesses thrive on clarity: This shut down was sudden by all yardsticks. In-person meetings couldn’t happen. “Done deal” things were no longer done deals. Term sheets for startups were being rescinded and almost everybody made sure to revisit what force majeure meant.
But the most resilient, forward thinking companies have already started to respond. Instead of saying “come visit our storeroom when it reopens,” they’re building a digital equivalent of their own stores. This isn’t just an eCommerce listing, but the entire storefront experience taken online, from every option, customization and detail that you might want as a customer, because if you think a business thrives on clarity, the customer wants it now more than ever.
The north star is sales, and just sales: When everything is skittish, rely on sales to do the stabilizing. We’re seeing some companies and customers set up entire response teams to help further drive sales. The best ones are using this opportunity to seize the moment to build relationships with strategic accounts and win new customer segments. Most effectively though, we’re seeing customers make it easy to digitally discover “See-Try-Buy” products online and to enable their distributors to offer the same experience to drive sales too.
Things are tight: This is not an easy time for most businesses, especially if you have a retail storefront. For some, it might make sense to lower marketing costs. For others, it means getting more out of the resources you have like equipping sales with better technology and to sell remotely. We know every bit counts right now and over the next week, and we got down to trying to build something out to help every business that can do with an extra pair of hands.
In times like this, we believe more than ever that growth and adaptation in business is the key to success. One thing is certain, people are indoors and that is a whole new opportunity for you.
Your customers are all in their homes, and this changes how they shop, and perhaps what they shop for too. At Scapic, we started by looking at this big picture. We always start from what we know. First, this is an opportunity to learn — a rare occasion where we’ve had to institute massive behavioral change, seemingly overnight. Such a shift, whilst uncomfortable, will reveal a lot about our society’s capacity to adapt to new behaviors, as well as each individual’s response to those changes. A big part of this response is commerce, and herein marks an inflection point in retail and for better or for worse, things will never quite go back to the way they were before.
eComm’s growth has been steady over the past 10 years, but it has never supplanted in-store shopping.
In other words, there hasn’t been a watershed moment where consumers gave themselves permission to buy “anything and everything” online. They’ve never been forced to, and old habits die hard.
Here are the revenue trends by vertical:
The following charts are provided from anonymized data from Attentive. Data is provided as of end of the day on Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Some categories continue to experience increased consumer demand — particularly those that sell “essentials” like food and pet supplies. Compared to last week, we noticed a sales spike in electronics and home furnishings and a slight decrease in outdoor equipment purchases. This behavior indicates that consumers are still focused on stocking up on the essentials but are starting to consider other categories of e-commerce purchases. Over the past week, multiple US states and countries such as India issued “stay at home” directives, which may be causing consumers to consider making their home environments more comfortable and functional by investing in home-related electronics, decor, “self-care” items, and comfort apparel.
We think these charts are literally just the beginning of things to come and the behavior around online shopping will change considerably over the next 6–12 months:
Here’s a view of buying behavior at this moment (no surprise, and quite literally by force, eComm is the primary buying channel)
This isn’t forever. Our countries will at some point re-open and so would stores, restaurants and malls.
But, until then, buyers are going to experiment with virtual shopping in a way they never have before. They may discover that the thing they were always sure they needed to see in person — the watch, the sofa, the shoes — are kind of fun to shop for online. They may also find that, while they most definitely miss getting out, they don’t miss getting out to go shopping. Old habits will be forced to die and new ones will emerge in their place.
If these trend lines persist along with a behavioral shift that happens due to the same, here’s how a post-Covid19 world might shop:
Of course, this is just our prediction but we think there’s a strong case for a number of majority shifts. In some categories (electronics, furniture/home, apparel/shoes, tablets/smartphone/computers), we see there being a “majority shift” — more people buying virtually than in-store.
Businesses, including some of our clients, have found impact in sharing messages that directly address actions their brand has taken to cope up with the events.
Talk to your customers! Adding a message to address COVID-19 can be a way to connect with subscribers on an individual level, showing what your business is proactively doing to help. Services such as Attentive make this simpler than ever and there is nothing like an honest message from you to your customers.
Be where they are. From all the data previously, it is amply clear that your customers are all indoors, but shopping for what they need almost exclusively thorough eCommerce stores such as Amazon, Flipkart, Shopify stores and more. As a retailer, it is more important than ever to not just list your products online, but begin to provide an incredible tech enabled experience so that your digital storefront, is just as good as your retail one.
Online or offline, the first rule is that consumers buy products with their eyes.
Now more than ever, your business needs incredible visuals, information and media to help your customers understand why your products need to be in their shopping cart.
We get it, your business needs more done online now than ever before but all the traditional ways of making media happen are just not viable right now. Photo studios for creating images of your products are shut down and creating an expensive photoshoot or lifestyle shot of your new lineup is just not cost or time effective for the time being. Things are more chaotic now more than ever!
Your business needs outstanding product visualizations now more than ever before and creating it has not become any easier. That’s where we come in, to help.
Scapic would offer a number of tools and products to help make your store battle ready to take on the virus, and much more in the times ahead. Here’s what that includes:
Flatten the curve, while getting products into the hands of your customers. To do this, your products needs incredible visuals to help sell better. To help make these visuals, the foundation is to make your products 3D ready.
This job of modeling has always been tough, but we can help. Scapic will make your products 3D ready, completely free of cost.
A picture is worth a thousand words and a good picture is worth a thousand customers. Scapic has build an AI based Shot Maker, which helps you generate photo-realistic looking lifestyle shots of your products.
This is too complex, and your studios are probably shut. Scapic replaces all this with AI for incredible lifestyle pictures of your products.
One of the biggest reasons your customers came through the retail doors was to try your products before they bought them. With Augmented Reality, you can provide them with nearly the same experience whilst they are still on their couch. AR Try-Ons have become increasing important for a purchase decision.
A lot of brands and stores out there rely on that personal touch with their customers to close the sale out. This could be for furniture, home decor or even customizing your next bike before you buy them. The truth is, customization is hard in an online world, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Scapic’s customizer is a bleeding edge platform to help build deeply meaningful personalization options for your users to show them you care, and help them make that purchase with a smile.
We help you get your Product Information into one place, and then help distribute your content across every channel out there. Creating marketing, sales and information collateral should not be taking you weeks, and with Scapic, it doesn’t have to (it takes minutes)
We know your retail space is incredible. We’re making our Virtual Tours feature free too, so that you can make a walkthrough of your store, for your customers to view.
As one of our biggest steps to stay committed to seeing this through together. If you don’t have an online storefront yet, we would help you get a store on Shopify, Amazon or any eCommerce channel you wish to get started with, completely free of cost.
It’s a chaotic time for a lot of us out there, but we’re all in this as one. We at Scapic want to be your stores biggest cheerleader and support whilst at it, and if there is anything else that you think we could help you with, just drop us a note here.
Stay home. Wash your hands. Let your loved ones know we’re all going to get through this.
P.S. We’re in this together, just head over to Scapic.com/Covid19 to chat with us on any way we could help out your business, as we see this through.
✋🧼, The Scapic team