(continuing from a previous post)
Since the pandemic started in March 2020, stores were closed all over country. In my previous article, I briefly discussed how the pandemic has changed consumers way of buying items, the place of the marketing mix. More people have been buying items online since for a period of time that was all we could do. This has made me wonder about how stores are dealing with the brick and mortar concept slowly becoming a thing of the past. Not long ago, consumers would head to shopping centers or malls without necessarily having set plans about what they might buy or which shops they might enter. The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the age-old tradition of going shopping. Many consumers now know what they want and reach for their cell phones or other mobile device. Since the beginning of the pandemic, purchases with digital devices has increased to 42 percent since March 2020. The factors driving this shift isn’t hard to see. Many stores are operating on limited hours and other restrictions. Consumers are trying to limit themselves to exposure.
When a retailer closes over 200 stores within nine months, it is usually a sign of trouble. However, in this digital age, it’s a sign for opportunity. For the fashion retailer H&M, this was the case. Sales were up 14 percent in the last quarter. After having closing 230 stores, it is less about whether sales are happening but where they are happening. H&M is now putting more effort in their online store and customer service to keep up with customer needs.
Another example of this is Amazons’ AI, Alexa. Amazon has been satisfying customers within this new digital trend for years now. When they came out with Alexa, it became a virtual assistant for consumers. All you have to do is say, “Hey Alexa..” and ask her anything. However, a big way they promote Alexa is to get her to buy items for you on your Amazon account. For example, you could say, “Hey Alexa, order Iso 100 Dymatize Whey Protein Chocolate Peanut Butter.” She will go on your Amazon account and order it for you, and all you had to do was speak. This coincides with a change in consumer behavior. Nowadays, consumers want things easy and fast. With Alexa and the addition of Prime free two-day delivery, Amazon has become a sort of “role model” for many online retailers.
The moral of this story is, if you see a store is closing, the online store is more likely to be thriving.
In my previous article, I talked about how Primark faced challenges during this pandemic because they didn’t have an online retail store. In this new digital age, that was a mistake. I am sure they were counting down the days when customers could return to the stores. From a marketer perspective, I am surprised they didn’t consider revamping their website. It currently only shows clothing, but you aren’t able to purchase anything. As a frequent online shopper, I personally prefer shopping online. Online stores tend to have a much bigger selection of clothing, sizes and accessories to choose from. The waiting for it to be delivered is a downside, but it’s a downside I am willing to waive.