When talking about the retail industry and e-commerce trends, the term disruption is thrown around a lot, usually referring to so-called disruptive technology. But the recent coronavirus outbreak reminds us that there are other kinds of disruption that are not manmade but have just as much, if not more, impact on customer experience as any technology ever created by the retail industry.
TDA Founder and CEO Goran Deak says the retail industry needs to “take responsibility as brands and communicate about other services and other goods that are important for our customers.”
E-commerce trends have been changing the retail industry for years
A lot is uncertain, but we know that the coronavirus outbreak and how the retail industry responds to it, will shape the overall shopping experience affecting online shopping and brick-and-mortar retailing forever. Of course, it would be foolish to say that the future of e-commerce was not already in flux with the advent of social commerce, mobile payments, and other e-commerce trends.
The world of retail has been in transition for quite some time. In the last decade, we’ve seen what were e-commerce trends in 2010 become the norm in 2020. We’ve seen digital-first companies like Amazon grow tenfold. And we’ve seen the rapid rise, and some equally rapid declines, of direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands.
The coronavirus accelerates retail industry change
But no one expected the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting coronavirus crisis to come along and radically change the conversation in the retail world. First, as the coronavirus hit China, the supply chain for many retailers was suddenly snapped. Although the outbreak has slowed dramatically in China, the recovery from the disruption of the supply chain trails behind.
Then, as the outbreak spread, the effect on a wide swath of the population became clear. As social distancing has become the new normal it has pushed even the most die-hard Luddites to consider becoming online shoppers and has pushed some businesses to change their whole business model to accommodate online retailing.
In this interview, we explore how retail industry leaders, as well as those who invest in and support the industry, can plan for the future of e-commerce in the coronavirus era.
On retail brands adjusting their marketing for the coronavirus crisis
We have to think about maintaining businesses and what will happen after. So, it is really important that we have a steady plan of communication and how we’ll handle our marketing activities now and how we will handle them in the future and how will adapt them.
On brands’ responsibility during the coronavirus crisis
We need to provide all the necessary information for customers outside of just how many people got sick and what’s happening from the quarantine perspective. I also think we need to take responsibility as brands and communicate about other services and other goods that are important for our customers and our customers are expecting companies to continue providing them.
On changing digital retail consumers
We see not only change happening from the three- and four-year-olds who can order stuff online all the way to elderly people who are now looking, consuming, ordering and doing everything that we are doing on social media.