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Time For Creative Solutions

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As part of our new series, ‘Marketers Playbook for 2020 Post Covid-19′, Shekhar Agarwal, Head of Marketing, Havmor Ice Cream highlights the challenges that touch-based and congregation-based businesses face as they adapt to the post Covid-19 world

While going out for my Sunday evening walk in the luscious green stretch of Indiranagar in Bangalore, I was just mentally jotting down in my mind that how will the world look like in the Covid-19 scenario and specifically the economy and the business sectors. I think the world has at least accepted by this time that Covid-19 is here to stay for the next few years. Some of the most evident changes which have been already flagged by most organizations are:

  1. Importance Of Trust: Trust has become a critical element of the consumer decision making tree. Consumers are actively seeking for the same, a belief that the product is safe to consume. Hence companies are marketing their manufacturing process, the safety protocols they are following in last mile delivery, contactless delivery etc. In Havmor, we are working on an initiative called Havmor Assurance through which we are seeking to provide tangible assurance at all consumer touch point whether it is on our packs or our parlor operations or home delivery.
  2. Use Of Digital Media: Digital has become a pertinent part of every company`s marketing plan and more so now. Organizations irrespective of their size have been forced to realize the criticality of the medium. More and more spends in the digital space is inevitable. Companies need to devise their digital strategy to figure out how they will work out their engagement strategy on a continual basis.
  3. Emergence Of Home Delivery & Contactless Delivery: Most companies have signed up with different last mile delivery platforms like Dunzo, Swiggy, Zomato , Lalamove etc….. Some companies like Havmor have even gone a step ahead of initiating their own channel of home delivery, .There is a clear change in consumer behavior where consumers are seeking to create more in-house consumption moments and are looking for products to be delivered to the comforts of their home and more and more companies will create it as a new channel of sales

The more interesting part of the visualization was scenarios which are still work in progress. Marketeers are still working to figure out the most creative way to provide solutions. The significant challenge would be in the “touch-based sectors” and “congregation-based businesses”.

Touch-based sectors are companies which are based on where products are sold after touching, feeling, experiencing and trying the product out. Most retail companies whether it is fashion or jewelry, or lifestyle falls under this umbrella. Let us visualize that we walk into a fashion store and would like to buy a pair of T-Shirts. For the process to start, it would involve trying out a half -dozen T-Shirts before making the final choice. Just imagine how difficult the whole process would be for both the consumer and the store staff in the post Covid-19 world. For the consumer, how can he be sure that the T-Shirts are safe to try and are sanitized and do not carry any risk? For the store staff, how does he ensure that each product tried is removed and sanitized again and the process is done umpteen times in a day without an error?

Retailers, especially jewelers, are already working towards asking consumer to visit by appointment. It might still work out for high ticket products but for products like mass fashion it is going to be a nightmare and creative solutions would be needed to bridge the gap dramatically.

The key sectors which rely on congregation – airlines, hospitality, events & gigs, restaurants – are based on the premise of bringing people together to a place and giving them a WOW experience. These sectors will have to completely re-model their product promise and transform the way they operate. Will technology completely rule the roost and physical concept go missing would be anybody`s guess.

The questions are many, the answers are few. These are going to be tough times but interesting ones. Business which evolve and adapt and the companies that come out stronger and wiser will be the ones that are a step ahead.


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Shekhar Agarwal

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