As the world is facing the coronavirus pandemic, the economy plummets worldwide. The reasons for it are simple: since the new virus is highly contagious, citizens of almost all countries across the planet are strongly advised not to leave their homes except for emergencies and to stay inside.
If you own a retail business or a grocery shop, you might be rapidly running out of money since your client flow dropped significantly.
If in the better days adaptability was just a strong side of any retail business, now it is an absolute necessity. In these circumstances, the competition between retailers in the same market have become even more brutal than ever before.
Those who won’t adapt and evolve to be able to run their businesses in the current situation, have a very high chance to perish while those who do come up with new strategies will not only survive but possibly have a greater client flow when the pandemic is over.
The solution to people staying inside more is going online – something that was not as wide-spread even a couple decades ago.
But online shopping just does not replicate the experience of going grocery shopping and choosing exactly what you are going to buy. This is especially important when buying fresh produce, picking and choosing fruits and veggies, checking expiration dates, weighting the precise amounts.
Retailers need to replicate the grocery shopping experience without the customer being in the store: it can be done thought a smartphone’s camera for a “virtual tour” of the store so the customer can choose the specific products they need.
When the pandemic threatened our country, and everyone was advised to stay home, one of the grocery stores in the city quickly launched a virtual shopping service.
The grocery store uses a popular messaging app – WhatsApp – to live stream the contents of the store to the customer via the video chat feature.
Designated stuff goes around the store and picks specific goods that the customer wants – and shows them the expiry dates, the ripeness of the tomatoes and the bananas, and whatever else the customer needs to see as if they were there. The client then pays for the items and the goods are delivered by the grocery store delivery service.
After the video shopping feature was introduced, the shop’s popularity has skyrocketed. The convenience of online shopping coupled with the ability to choose exactly what you want to buy has secured the shop’s survival through tough times.
The most convenient way to implement this more personal approach to shopping would be a mobile app that features video streaming.
The designated stuff would answer the in-app video calls from customers and shop together with them, showing the products, reading the ingredients from labels and helping out with brands if the customer has any questions.
After that, all the goods would be scanned, the customer would see all the items they have picked within the app and would pay for them online. After that the goods would be packaged and delivered to the address specified in the app profile.
Video chat could also include a barcode scanning feature to quickly add the items to cart without waiting for staff to scan everything at the checkout. Barcode scanning could also reveal useful information on the item, such as its expiry date and ingredients for a more authentic shopping experience.
This kind of mobile application is probably the fastest solution you can whip up for your retail store to avoid losing customers and keep the income flowing. It is faster and cheaper than setting up an online store grandiose and allows selling more fresh produce of any kind: fruits, vegetable, meats and dairy.
But more importantly, video shopping is probably the most authentic experience you can offer your customers during the pandemic and make sure they will be satisfied with the groceries they buy.
This approach will most certainly allow you to not only survive the current crisis, but also stay competitive and attract clients from other retailers who do not yet have any means of safe online shopping and delivery. As an added bonus, you can keep your mobile application, add new functionality and develop it into a full-blown online service for your store that will function and keep bringing in more customers even after the virus is defeated, and the life returns to normal.