Fashion Retail & Coronavirus: How Brands Can Battle the Outbreak Of This Global Pandemic
2020, the year everyone was waiting for, started on a not so “good” note. But with the outbreak of Coronavirus, businesses and consumer behavior were shaken on a massive scale. The virus broke out in Wuhan, China. China is arguably the most important manufacturer, industrial producer, and biggest exporter as it sells more manufacturing goods than any other country in the world.
The outbreak of Coronavirus coincided with the “fashion month” resulting in cancellations of various fashion shows across the world. Many retailers went on lockdown and the biggest luxury good company, LVMH started manufacturing disinfectant gel in French factories to help prevent a hand-sanitizer scarcity to step up its efforts to fight the spread of the deadly virus.
The outbreak of Covid-19 has accelerated trends that were already developing fast in China, including investments in e-commerce, gamification, and live streaming. Even before the coronavirus epidemic struck at the heart of China’s luxury business, the e-commerce platform Secoo had been steering the potential of live streaming to boost online sales for luxury.
Shanghai-based cosmetics brand Forest Cabin is now using live streaming to engage with customers after temporarily shutting down their 337 stores across China.
As the tension grows, brands need to focus less on brand awareness and sales and shift their focus to community building amidst the Coronavirus chaos. Community-building activities are a safe way to interact with consumers and remain in the mind so that when the customers start spending again they are going to spend it on your product.
Even though Coronavirus has been declared as a pandemic by WHO, we have to take proper measures to avoid it but that doesn’t mean the world has to go on a complete shutdown. Brands need to not only come up with new strategies during this critical situation but also make sure they are doing their best not to spread the virus. Contactless delivery is one such option that retailers need to keep in mind. Social distancing can boost fashion retailers’ online sales.
Companies like post mates, Instacart and Deliverroo have already adapted the contactless delivery service wherein orders to be left outside people’s addresses so that the delivery person does not have to come into contact with the customer, to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.
Even with contactless delivery, companies will have to have strict hygiene measures to make sure a high level of sterility is maintained. For the safety of the staff and others, mutual contact between staff should also be limited. Drivers should notify the customer by calling before delivery or opt for SMS based verification that order is sent to the intended person. If that is so they will put the delivery down at a safe distance and allow the person to collect it without coming too close. All tools should be disinfected at regular intervals and the body temperature of delivery drivers should be checked at regular intervals.
Digital capabilities have been something of a savior in the time of the coronavirus, both for brands to be able to speak to their customers and those customers able to find entertainment on their screens as the public is homebound in self-imposed quarantine. But during this difficult time, brands must look for creative, cost-effective and sensitive ways to communicate. The next couple of weeks are crucial to containing Coronavirus and we all must do our part to ensure the safety of others as well as ourselves.
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