CONDITION OF FASHION RETAIL SECTOR IN COVID-19 PANDEMIC

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The businesses have been severely affected all across the globe since COVID 19 pandemic. While many developed nations are expected to plunge into negative growth, the Indian economy which had projected good positive growth rates in the pre-COVID 19 era is expected to remain positive once the crisis is contained.

However, reviving from the depression and rejuvenating the supply chains back to normality would be far more difficult now. But still the world is gearing up and started to embrace the ‘new normal’.

Looking into Indian scenario, the lockdown hit country has a host of new challenges to overcome. Under retail sectors, Fashion retail sector faces the worst hit whereas other sectors like food, grocery, pharma or medical, etc are still operating because of its necessity. Fashion retail sector is facing huge loss of revenues including malls which were closed much before lockdown was announced. The sector remains worried that these places will be the last to open as well.

Once the market is re-opened, the fashion industry has to go through change in consumer buying behaviour and consumer buying capacity due to pandemic. Because, the mindset of consumer is not the same anymore. The sales will not happen like before. The consumer is pushed into need aspect rather than a want aspect. Also, as an industrial point of view, it will be difficult for a fashion industry to sell its merchandises from warehouses to customers. Strategy like heavy discounts or offers will not be an attractive option in this crisis.

Crisis paves way for new opportunity and helps people assess their operations. Being positive in this crunch is the only way to lift up anything. Fashion retail has to show a lot of resilience, and search positively for the opportunities in the light beyond the tunnel.

Well planned financial approach

Businesses should reduce their all overhead expenditures and focus only on necessities. Once the situation gets improved, they should be ready with their fresh capital investment inculcating in the balance sheet. Expansion plans have to be kept aside for sometime until the cash flow gets resolved. Therefore, a meticulous and watchful sales projection for the current year and a balanced approach shall save the retailer from over or under production.

Safety measures in a retail store

The COVID-19 will most likely remain for an entire year. Measures issued by Government, ministries and other agencies are to be taken care and should be followed without fail. High level sanitization and hygiene practices should be followed mandatorily. Safety and PPE kits should be made accessible to all the employees which shall act as a deterrent in the virus spread. Both the Customers and Retailers should be screened for fever and given masks. Contact less hand sanitisers or foot operated dispenser hand sanitisers are to be kept at different locations in a store and all the staff have to wear a face shields along with masks and gloves.

Revamping of retail

The brick-and-mortar will need some new strategies to provide the shoppers a confident and safety shopping. If this is an Online shopping then the customers need not to worry about social distancing, mask or gloves. Indeed, there are no safety concerns in Online and customers can do fearless shopping. Revamping of retail, is a complete modification to an existing model into a new one that includes

  • Intensify E-commerce as the store face: The digital space has limitless potential even for physical stores. Therefore, a Well- structured online model could provide both the retailer and customer a better shopping experience and can reap benefits in business.
  • Shopping based on appointments and contact less-payments by emailing or sending text messages to customers mobile can be implemented.
  • Paying more attention to trial rooms since it has the highest possibility of infection.
  • Providing a spacious retail store for the customers and employees to move freely considering social distancing.
  • Accelerating the Supply Chain: Shorter lead times and faster responses can hike up the sales.
  • Better quality and pricing: A good quality product with reasonable pricing can make a product successful.
  • Unique product: In this increasing competitive scenario, a retailer has to stand out by means of providing a differentiation in products.
  • Sustainable thinking: A buyer is now more conscious and aware of the need for sustainability in clothing. Longevity of a product is another principal feature of fashion in future.

Exploiting these factors are important to revive the economy. The new normal may be the world re-building together and India leading the way for it.