As I write this article, Unlock 2.0 has already begun. People are slowly learning to live with the virus. Projections are being made about post Covid era. Customers and Service providers are getting used to the new normal. In the midst of all the talks of depression and meltdown the only sector which has seen growth is eCommerce. Brands that have seen reliable and sustainable growth have been those that have invested in Direct to Consumer (D2C) eCommerce. I would have given the data here but as you struggle to order your grocery online and get a slot you would have already figured it out the hard way. If you are not already convinced, here is what has changed since 1.3 billion people went into the lockdown.
1) The big leap in “Dekh ke lo” mindset
Go to Amazon, Flipkart, BigBasket and you will find very few discount banners compared to the Pre-Covid era. Is this telling us that we don’t need to burn cash in discounting to drive consumers online? A big YES. The only deterrent for shopping non – books and electronics category online was “Dekh ke lo” (Touch and buy) mindset which has changed significantly in past two months. The day is not far when going to a shop to buy groceries, clothes, and shoes will be outdated.
2) Out of sight out of mind
For very long-time consumers and customers will not be visiting marketplaces, sports and music events, movie theatres, exhibitions. And the brands who don’t stay in touch will be long forgotten. If brands don’t have an online presence the train has already left the station but brands can still catch on its next and final station by starting to at least start branding online to stay engaged. This will give them the time to build operations which will have to wait until the world learns to live with COVID.
3) Online marketplaces are too crowded to pay attention – Direct to Consumer (D2C) is the answer.
The immediate reaction for most of the brands is to start selling online which is good but not very scalable if they are aiming at market share which they had offline. Then being independent is the only option and sooner the better.
4) Offline and the supply chain redefined
Imagine walking into a supermarket with only limited people allowed at a time and for a limited amount of time to maintain social distancing. Most of the people who would walk into the store would have already made a choice if not the purchase online. They will walk into the store just to pick up the product which means the old supply chain strategy might not work and need to smarter and online search or purchase data is the key! Imagine doing a Facebook promotion for a new soap brand and stocking the product in the area where the response has been good. The possibilities are endless. The situation is like never before and the solutions have to be like never before.
5) The data goldmine and personalization
Post-COVID era when the things settle down brands will need to know the re-defined persona of the consumers even if they want to go back to the good old times and that can only happen if you have enough data. The only way brands can get this is by interacting with the customers and it can’t happen if the brand chooses to sell offline or on an online marketplace. If brands want to stand out in this accelerated competition building the data goldmine and reaping the personalization rewards is the key.