The COVID-19 pandemic had brought about a paradigm shift in consumer behaviour and brands would need to adapt to this change by rebooting their businesses and adopting a ‘phygital’ approach with omnichannel presence to capitalise in the new environment, a Deloitte–FICCI Reboot report said on Wednesday.
The report had analysed the changing pattern of the retail market during the pandemic and brought out case studies of successful brand strategies that worked during this difficult period for businesses.
The report had brought out the importance of omnichannel presence of brands to maximise gains in the changed business environment while enhancing consumer experience to the maximum.
The existential issues in this difficult time need to be sorted out by adopting a phygital approach, the report said. What this means is that as digital-savvy consumers look for a mix of digital and physical engagements, retailers would need to build an omnichannel presence to provide best-in-class customer experience.
The fourth edition of the report is built on a six-step approach viz businesses need to ‘Realign’ their models and partnerships, ‘Enhance’ consumer experience through technology and Analytics, ‘Build’ resilient distribution, develop their ‘Omnichannel’ presence, ‘Operate’ efficiently, and ‘Thrive’ by focusing on sustainability.
“While the pandemic brought massive disruptions across the value chain of the consumer sector, most companies adapted by building agile business models and innovative marketing strategies, along with expanding their presence through the online platforms to reach their consumers. The prolonged lockdowns have also dramatically transformed consumer buying behaviour while making them more health and socially conscious. This has created new opportunities for businesses to develop hyper-local delivery models, use conversational AI, build omnichannel retail, etc. to acquire and serve customers,” Rajat Wahi, Partner, Deloitte India, said.
The report has said that as brands adapt to the ‘new normal’, the key to sustenance and growth is likely to be an agile business model that minimises disruptions in the future.
It cited certain trends that make a visible appearance in the marketplace. This includes acceleration in e-commerce sales as stay-home phenomena drove significant purchases through e-commerce, increased demand from rural areas as Covid-19 has led to massive reverse migration, which in turn has driven up rural demand, favouring companies with strong rural distribution.
Moreover, the focus of consumers on health, hygiene, and nutrition had grown. Health concerns and the need to build immunity have led consumers to buy home sanitation and immunity boosting products.
As a result, these categories have seen major growth since March 2020 and this is likely to continue into 2021.
The pandemic has also put sustainability in the spotlight and companies are now seeing sustainability through the lens of growth as well as bottom line, and using their sustainability initiatives to better engage with their customers.