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How the retail industry can get their business back to normal

The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone. More livelihoods than lives have  been lost. While waves of the pandemic continue to hit us, one thing is certain, that it is  getting increasingly more challenging for the retail industry to find its footing in the New  Normal. And that is anything but normal. Frequent lockdowns also mean that shops, stores  

are shut, malls are closed, and that is not a good sign for the economy. Even from a health  perspective, consumers have become wary about stepping outside and entering business  establishments. In these times of uncertainty, here are a few things that might help you if  you are in the retail industry and want to bring your business back to normal.  

Go where the consumer is 

Perennial fear has led to a drastic change in consumer behaviour. During the last one  year, online retail has accelerated its growth. The gap has narrowed between offline and  online shopping and trends indicate that e-commerce will continue to grow rapidly.  Consumers aren’t stepping out, and they like room service. So, as a retail player, it is  imperative that you follow the consumer. Go where the consumer is, track them down, find  out what has changed in their needs, and serve them your new and improved offering. And  help them buy it. Work with a logistics partner to help you deliver your goods to their  locations. It has become easier to use a single logistics partner to deliver across  thousands of pin codes today. Update yourself regarding the players in this space, close  deals and inform your consumers that you are open for business once again.  

Establish contact-free payment options 

For those of your retail businesses who still enjoy walk-ins, please make it convenient for  your customer to make payments. Social distancing is critical for business, and it is  absolutely critical you adopt online payment mechanisms to ensure a contact-free  experience for your customers. After all, they like shopping at your store, make them feel  safe about it. Doing business in a contact-free manner is good for business.  

Sort your back-end  

When demand changes, supply needs immediate attention. You know this. And you also  know that you need to start projecting demand as per the dynamic environment we  currently are doing business in. You need to plan for the demand accordingly and try and  make your back-end as nimble footed as possible. After all, things will not always be this  bad and when they improve, you should be ready to capitalise on renewed interest from  consumers.  

Know your customer 

If you are a business that kept track of your customers, get in touch with them, talk to them  and offer them your new services or products on messaging apps. Customers who bought  from you earlier and had a good experience, will value your attempt to connect and revive  the chance to do business with them.  

Secure your spaces 

Once lockdowns are far and few, consumers are bound to start visiting your store. What  you need to provide at that time is assurance that you keep your environment clean and  sterilised. There are several traditional methods of doing this. Sanitisers keep surfaces 

clean and ensure that customers feel safe when they walk-in. But today, there is a new  category of devices that protect your surroundings called Viral Defence Systems. These  are electronic devices that are backed by revolutionary technology. For example, the  Shycocan neutralises the Coronavirus inside your premises and reduces the transmission  of the virus with up to 99.9% efficacy. It is absolutely the need of the hour to abide by the  new safety guidelines that will be implemented and changed from time to time for the retail  business. 

New in-shop experiences 

Store designs will need to be revisited. Given the current context and the what we expect  to see in the foreseeable future, commerce spaces need to be redesigned. It is better to  get a head start and start thinking about this so that when lockdowns are lifted and  consumers are back in store, they experience the new design in a safe and reassuring  manner. If you are a restaurant, you might have to revisit seating, if you are a supermarket,  you might have to change the way the products are stocked so that there is linear  movement from aisle to aisle. These time tested ideas will need to be challenged and  changed.  

What is clearly evident is that traditional retailers will need to up their game to update  themselves about the latest technologies available and view their business from a new  dynamic lens. Optimisation of spends is critical and being nimble footed is essential. The  retail landscape will change to accommodate a future where safety will be at the top of  consumer requirements and it is a win-win for both, them and your employees.  

———- 

Alok Sharma is CEO, Shycocan Corporation, the Company behind a breakthrough new  technology, the Shycocan. A virus attenuation device that can disable the entire Coronavirus  and Influenza family of viruses with 99.9% efficacy in enclosed spaces as per multiple virology  test reports from accredited laboratories globally. He’s the former MD of Apple India, an angel  investor, entrepreneur, dad and eternal optimist.

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DISCLAIMER

Shycocan Corporation is the supplier of the Shycocan Virus Attenuation Device (‘Shycocan VAD’), a device that neutralizes up to 99.9% of certain classes of viruses, only if the device is installed, operated and maintained as prescribed and under pre-defined conditions, as proven in virology lab test reports. Shycocan Corporation, its parent entities, and its associated, subsidiary, joint venture companies, and their respective promoters, shareholders, directors, management, managers, employees, distributors and channel partners and agencies shall bear no liability personally, individually, jointly or severally to any person or persons using the Shycocan VAD, or to any person or persons who the users of Shycocan VAD intend to protect, and they shall bear no liability whatsoever to any person whomsoever who may catch any infection at any place prior to or after leaving those areas where the Shycocan VAD  is installed and operational. Shycocan Corporation is committed to keeping its customers safe, protected and to help bring business back to business, and life back to normal, but our customers are requested to take all precautions prescribed by the government health authorities in their respective countries to ensure that they and their customers, employees, visitors and families remain safe.