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Project Kickstart

How shopping will change in the ‘new normal’ and

the impact on exporters Part 1

A series of two blogs which will guide you through the changes caused by the pandemic

Post-pandemic will the way that consumers buy and consume products be changing and, if so, how can the way businesses operate and service their customers be adapted to that?

We are already experiencing many changes in people’s behaviours in the way we live, consume, and shop for products/services, etc. Could your business become a part of these new movements? Can you fast track side by side with the evolving e-commerce platforms which supported us during the lockdowns
Life after lockdown is changing the shopping and retail landscape. A recent survey of the retail landscape in England showed that a large group of in-store shoppers are not yet confident in shopping in the retail stores. 60% do not plan to visit any store in the first couple of weeks of all stores’ reopening with only 40% who plan to visit within the first week of reopening. Of this 40% of the surveyed shopper group the key attraction to shop in stores was 3 main categories:

• 60% for clothes and shoes,
• 42% in the personal care category, and with
• 30% for the home/and kitchen section

Most interesting, I find these 3 categories were also the most browsed and shopped on-line during the lockdown. The mixed in-store experience was dominated by a lesser enjoyable experience for 41%, and 48% had to queue to access the shop they wanted.

European shoppers are becoming increasingly confident online

  

Shoppers across have gained greater interest and confident shopping online which further evolved and grew very fast during the lockdowns

• Researching products and the actual product online
• Comparing prices
• Comparing service and delivery time, including return policies and warranties offered across the sales channels
• Expecting the brand or producer to demonstrate their ethical policy

We have also seen many changes in behaviours and outlooks
• Increased interest in healthier lifestyles and physical activities has grown as there has been more time and focus on cooking and looking after the overall well being
• Interest in social responsibility has grown and the focus has turned to our environmental responsibility as the pollution rate has reduced due to the many industrial lockdowns and fewer cars on the highways
• There has also been an increased focus in the communities around us, and keeping in touch with friends and family using various social media platforms
• Not everything has taken place online as book reading and book sales has grown

All in all, across different countries, the lockdown has inspired online activities and changed behaviours, even cultures.
An interesting example has been India where the strong tradition of going to the daily market and stores changed overnight as they closed.
The major supermarkets acted quickly, and the customers learned to order on-line across India.
The major online outlets were further backed by the banking system as, until this point, the main payment used was cash. The system for payment on delivery was rolled out with deliveries. It also accelerated an improvement focus and action on the infrastructure and with large chains such as Walmart and online operator Amazon, there were a few key operators with a huge interest in further growing the Indian market. They then secured planning approval for additional warehousing and development work could get started.

 It is still early days for bricks and mortar retailers as they face a set of challenges for opening up the stores again such reconfiguring the shopping outlay as well as staff zones.

Meanwhile many brand owners and manufactures acted fast when the lockdown became reality and country borders closed. In addition to selling through traditional channels – retail partners and resellers – manufacturers and B2B businesses are taking matters into their own hands by building their e-commerce stores and in some cases their retail shops.

  Yes, we do appreciate that it can be difficult for exporters to be on top of these amazing developments in many different markets, but that is where it becomes so important to develop an enterprising export culture – something we will come back to. in next newsletter/blog next week  

Part 2 Direct to Consumer Ecommerce, all about Taking Back Control 

 

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