The increase in online shopping spells opportunities for those retailers who have well defined online marketing and distribution presence and channels. It is hoped that the increase in online sales will help offset the decline in offline channels, in the retail sector.
AEON Malaysia has already reported that it is looking for growth opportunities in its home delivery business, which currently makes up a small percentage of its total sales. Their daily home delivery business sales had increased by about 40% in the past 2 to 3 months. Their hardline and fashion items saw a slight dip in sales, which was mitigated by the groceries and supermarket businesses. It also saw a hike in grocery sales in early February in the southern region stores, particularly from Singaporean customers. (Bernama, March 12, 2020).
Overall, supermarkets, convenience stores and pharmaceutical businesses look set to benefit, as consumers stock up groceries, household essentials and drugs, and cook more at home.
On the other hand, shopping malls, restaurants, gyms, reflexology / massage outlets and beauty salons appear to bear the brunt of the virus.
Strategies for these retailers to encourage more physical visits would entail stringent precautionary measures as well as promotional programmes.
For eg. malls have already undertaken precautionary measures to reduce chances for virus transmission through frequent cleaning and sanitizing of common areas and installing hand sanitisers at central locations. Some like Sunway Malls have begun running more aggressive marketing campaigns to drive sales, benefiting both retailers and consumers.
Due to uncertainty over when the Covid-19 outbreak will be contained in Malaysia, consumers are expected to remain cautious, with shifts to online shopping expected to increase further.
Digital marketing strategies would be apt in such an environment. Once again, we thank our friends at Garganto for reaching out to work together on this survey.