As countries across the world are implementing lockdown to control the spread of COVID-19 virus. The Indian government has decided to move ahead with phase 2 of the nation-wide lockdown. But, the adverse effects of lockdown are clearly visible on business in India. Even though businesses were able to come out pretty much unscathed from previous financial and economic turmoils, the COVID-19 is proving to be a challenge for F&B/Retail brand owners. Though businesses involved in grocery, food delivery and essential services are still able to stay afloat, the real brunt is being faced by businesses in Fashion, cosmetics, fine dining, QSRs and other non-essential types.

Over the past few weeks, Xeno is continuously publishing learnings and strategies for business owners on how they can minimise the negative effects of COVID-19 on their businesses. And enabling them to better plan for both a short-term and long-term basis. While researching and conversing with multiple industry experts, our team has collated a list of actionable to be better prepared for Lockdown 2.0 and further.

  1. Manage Demand Fluctuations: Since business have closed their stores, they are facing an abrupt shortage of cashflow. Which is inhibiting their ability to make calculated decisions. One of the major decision being to shift towards an online-based E-commerce model so as to enable some sales to come through. For instance, while fashion retailers are not able to generate any new online orders, food delivery services are facing unprecedented spikes in demand. Leading to confusion on how to proceed further. Nonetheless, many fashion retailers with loyal customers are taking this opportunity to offer advanced ordering. By which customers can buy from their website during lockdown at discounted prices, and brands will deliver their goods once lockdown is lifted. Which emphasises on the importance of delighting your customers.
  2. Invest in Marketing Communications: The marketing team at Xeno cannot stress this enough. In times of crisis, the best policy for a brand is to communicate effectively with its customers. It should not be a sales-driven communication, but more about helping out the customer with much-needed information and making them believe in your availability for any kind of help or support they may need. Also, try and market precautions shared by government and health agencies to your customer base online to contribute your bit towards making everyone aware of the steps they can take to protect themselves
  3. Indian Consumers are Optimistic: According to a report by McKinsey, the majority of consumers are positive that the economy will get back to normal in a span of 2-to-3 months once the COVID-19 crisis is over. Which comes across as a ray of light for brands as they can expect to get back to generating the same revenue much sooner than they think. The confidence in recovery of the economy at a fast pace means people are ready to spend once the lockdown is over. The best thing a brand can do is to prepare themselves for the future.
  4. Average Order Value May Reduce: Many consumers are also expected to cut back on their spending. This means people will be more willing to buy low priced products. Owing to this, brands need to start marketing their low priced products and services. For instance, fashion brands can market more of their accessories based products. Sure, they may not result in much contribution towards revenue growth. But it will keep your brand in front and close to your customer.
  5. Realise the Power Of Stories: Stories have a way of swaying over human beings. Put them to good use and utilise this time to talk about your brand journey. How a product is made. The journey of the brand’s founders and how they aim to grow the brand in the future. This way, if done correctly, you will be able to strike a chord in the consumer’s heart making them feel more connected to the brand. 
  6. Be More About Community: Now is the time for everyone to stand together, separately! And contribute towards making India COVID-19 free. Spend this time to conduct CSR activities aimed towards stopping the spread of COVID-19. Also showcasing to your customers that your brand is more than about just selling products and services

So, here are the six ways brands can utilise their time and come out as a better and loved brand as soon as the crisis gets over.