The year 2020 is almost over, but it will be remembered as one of the most terrible years in history for pandemic and economic downturn. Conversely, without a doubt, it will be placed for many positive reasons too. To describe one out of many such remarkable points, we will try to answer the question; when businesses collapsed, how only a handful of businesses survived using eCommerce app and even thrived during the same violent, turbulent atmosphere?
The retail market is very different in recent years than it was years back. Buyers want quicker, more comfortable, and cost-effective ways to purchase the goods, which pushes businesses to get more creative. That’s how the trend was shifting; then suddenly, there is a Covid-19 pandemic to fuel the movement.
The pandemic is a full-stop to ‘business as usual’ and a turning point for organizations to become virtual, digital-centric, and agile—and to do it all swiftly. The businesses that adapted or are adapting to this swift change are, no doubt, now in a position to leapfrog the less nimble competitors, and you can guess the fate of the rest.
The year 2020 will stand out as the terrible year in our living memory with millions of human life losses, job cuts, pay cuts, extended lockdowns, physical restrictions, and long queues at few open shops, business closures.
To worsen the situation, the pandemic is accelerating the ‘Retail Apocalypse,’ which has been going on for years; much before we heard about Coronavirus.
And, the Year 2020 Is Also a Big Year for These Reasons
Because it will be remembered:
- The year that created new opportunities—turned a whole new segment of consumers into shopping digitally. It also spurred already-online shoppers to buy more.
- The year that taught no-savvy brick-and-mortar store owners that there is something called eCommerce and mCommerce can be their sole survival tactic and not just fancy things anymore. And emphasized the undecided ones to adapt to online strategies.
- Also, the year that created and replaced new market leaders. The clear and ambitious businesses that embrace the ‘new reality take timely action, reinvent their business model to capture the market share, and will emerge after the crisis as market leaders.
- The year that put digital transformation on steroids. We used to say, “consumers drive the digital transformation,” but a better match during and after a pandemic could be “consumers force” the transition; because the pandemic gives rapid acceleration to the trend.
Regardless, there is pandemics; history has been teaching us when consumers drive or force the transformation due to whatever the reasons; it creates a perfect playground for disruptors; when it happens, the businesses, stubborn to accept and react to the changes, risk being left behind. The pandemic has just helped the disruptors by accelerating the disruption as well on another front.
Look at this remarkable story of an unthinkable brand that has faced this invisible tsunami, the retail apocalypse, and later getting accelerated with the pandemic to face its complete closure:
- Stein Mart, 112 years old, embattled legacy with over 8000 employees, filed for bankruptcy and announced that it would close most, if not all, of its 280 stores.
- But Stein Mart, just the brand, is to come back in 2021 as an online retailer under different ownership after being snatched by REV (Retail eCommerce Ventures), founded in 2019.
- REV’s motto should excite you more and tell every detail in those few words, “We Transform Well-Known Distressed Retail Brands into Ecommerce Success Stories.”
What is the message the closure of this well-established name and being reborn as an eCommerce model under a relatively unknown owner gives you? It’s not unusual that well-known brands collapse time-to-time. REV’s advantage, the eCommerce experience, and the loyal base of Stein Mart customers together will give the fallen brand a new life on the internet in 2021.
REV paid a little over $6m for the name, private label brands, domain names, social media assets, and customer data.
REV is co-owned by social media influencer Tai Lopez says, “We look forward to building upon the solid foundation of existing Steinmart.com customers and introducing new loyalists to the brand by improving the online shopping experience, broadening the merchandise mix, and deploying targeted social media marketing campaigns,” – Source: cnn.com
- Stein Mart wasn’t swift enough to adapt to changing consumer demands. And the analysts say, “Stein Mart has become a cautionary tale for its inability to adapt to online shopping.”
- Looks like REV is prepared to use Stein Mart and its customer data and fill the gaps that previous management overlooked particularly online shopping.
Traditional shoppers, who have enjoyed the online shopping comfort, will still be reluctant to return to old-school shopping habits even after COVID-19.
Reinventing/transforming the traditional shopping experiences of your buyers will have no plan B in the post-pandemic world (If you’re interested, check out How to Create an App from Scratch)
“After a year of sitting at home, a lot of our behaviors are going to be permanently oriented toward these direct- and digital-commerce behaviors… In the future, as customers think less about safety than convenience, brands will need to better differentiate their online experiences from one another”
Jay Pattisall, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research Inc.
Don’t Cut down on Your Survival
It’s natural for business owners to consider ways to cut down on digital expenses and slow down the transformation investment to preserve capital in today’s unusual conditions. However, history had proven that businesses that could take strategic future-focused investment approaches during hard times were better placed whenever the economy is rebounded.
Therefore, business owners need to balance short-term necessities and long-term investments. For instance, not considering digital transformation investments may even lead to business closures when another tragedy strikes – god forbid. As we saw, some businesses still survive this pandemic due to a single channel that they can sell online.
So, it is crucially important than ever before that businesses adapt to eCommerce, mCommerce, and increasing their online presence. At the same time, set the right strategy for your digital transformation and work with an automation company to move the needle.
Zappter, Switzerland, is a tailored process digitalization, drag and drop app builder & software development company. For projects, consultancy, training, or to book a Discovery Call, talk to us at zappter.com