Before the coronavirus upended all of us, wireless retailers were focused on improving operational efficiencies - streamlining sales or optimizing the back office - and were only starting to explore what their online presence could be.
But, fast forward a few weeks and a digital strategy is now top-of-mind for the entire industry.
While some are still scrambling to survive, others have already future-proofed their business by implementing new tactics like curbside pickup, appointments, and drop shipping.
"A lot of these new emerging trends are going to stick going forward - the reality is we're not just going to go back to how business was before." - Stacy Hamer
In part one of a two-part episode, we chatted with Stacy Hamer, VP of Client Experience at iQmetrix, to get a definitive take on the current and future state of wireless retail. She explained how the crisis will forever change consumer behavior and provided some examples on how wireless retailers should adjust to remain relevant.
What we learned from Stacy
1. Embrace new technologies to address consumer expectations
While omnichannel is not a new concept, it has largely been neglected. Moving forward, a real omnichannel experience that includes curbside pickup, appointment booking, drop shipping, and even online payment will be expected by your customers
2. Be a local business
As a local business providing an essential service, you inherently have a strong bond with the members of your community. Even as social distancing guidelines soften, consumers will likely avoid traveling outside their immediate communities to shop. To that end, if you double down on "being local", you will bounce back quickly.
3. Have a plan to bring your employees back to work
At time of writing, the unemployment rate in the US and Canada are 4.4% and 7.8%, respectively. Most retailers were forced to lay off their front-line due to store closures mandated by the government and/or carriers.
"Staffing has just become a massive problem. It's not even just the lack of sales or people physically showing up to the stores, it's the staff feeling comfortable being in the stores and working."
When business picks back up, not only will you have to rebuild team morale, but you will have to convince your front-line that it's truly safe to come back to work and interact with customers in a high-touch environment.
4. Lean on your network of trusted peers
Wireless retail is a tight-knit community. We are all living through this shared crisis and your fellow retailers, vendors, and partners can provide you with much needed advice on how to get through this.
Be open to new ideas, reach out to your peers for help, and be generous with the amount of advice that you give others.
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