The State of Retail with Work and Co Director of Strategy Dawn Moses

As our economy begins to reemerge and some stores/businesses start to reopen, but with limited capacity – what are some tips for driving demand for less capacity?

Focus on ensuring that your business has a stable and efficient digital omnichannel foundation – this essential core helps capture demand and make the most of capacity when/where it exists.

Keep a long-term perspective and focus on the quality of the end-to-end experience (from product presentation to post-purchase customer support) to help reduce customer anxiety, increase confidence, and reinforce trust.

Identify high-value areas of your business that can be adapted to better meet people’s increased need for flexibility, such as back-of-house automation for increased inventory accuracy, faster at-home delivery options, more customer-friendly return policies, or better integrated contactless payment solutions.

Experiment with purpose – look for unique ways to extend your core value proposition and digitize your offering.

For stores/businesses with a physical presence, carefully consider the role your storefront plays in your long-term strategy. Two key questions to keep in mind: What do you uniquely offer customers who come to your store? Are you exceeding their expectations when they make the effort to visit? Look for ways to connect your physical and digital channels to extend your reach and reinforce your role in their life and community. 

What are the practical considerations that businesses in different sectors (travel, retail, restaurants, entertainment) need to consider as they start to open their doors again, including physical modifications to locations and new policies?

Certain industries have seen exponential growth, others rapid decline and still others are suspended in a state of stagnation. The only thing we can be certain of as the world will eventually overcome the pandemic is that core consumer patterns have fundamentally changed.

Look for opportunities that can help bridge short, mid, and long-term vision, and tighten how your physical and digital channels work in unison to deliver value to your customers:

  • Rebalance supply chain and category management to increase visibility and resilience 
  • Invest in customer insight analytics and intelligence to better understand customer pain points, and predict emerging needs and new demand cycles 

For global businesses or regional ones, there’s something to be learned from those who are testing and putting their reopening plans into effect. Study and learn from countries that are further down the path of reopening and borrow best practices. 

How will brands modify/change their messaging post-COVID? Will it change at all?

  • Empathize. This is an unprecedented moment in human history. 
  • Look for ways to emotionally connect your brand and product to the realities of customers as they continue to adapt to a new normal 
  • People are shopping more consciously, focusing on basic needs, buying local, is your brand aligned to this new mindset? 

How do you think stores/businesses reopening will impact ad spend in Q3+Q4?

We have seen investment in digital products and connected experiences increase. Companies have realized how essential core digital products are to the future of their business, and customers who were slow to adopt have rapidly develop digital literacy and embraced digital commerce. 

As businesses fight to survive, spend will be focused on the highest-value efforts and also ensuring seamless connectivity between the digital and physical worlds.

What do you think a brand that has paused their spend, needs to consider before restarting?

If investment in core platforms was paused, it’s essential to ramp-up with a focus on features that add essential value to your user and your business. In times of crisis, many new companies are founded and flourish. It’s critical to understand the shifting expectations of your customers, and what new competitive pressure might have emerged.