Wanted : ‘Robust plan to bring the retail industry to normalcy’ : Arti Singh
By Mohit Manghani | April 03, 2020
Governments, businesses and communities are facing the brunt of coronavirus pandemic. As COVID-19 impacts more people every day, most sectors of the economy have been reduced to a standstill.
So what's at stake for the Retail Industry, how much of it will be hit? Arti Singh, Vice President, Madison Retail Paradigm shares her take on the future of retail, plan ahead and much more
How do you foresee the next few months’ business-wise?
Given that 2019 was not a great year for our industry, we were looking forward to 2020. While we were all gearing up, who knew that the first quarter of 2020 would bring the whole world to a standstill and affect the market so badly. We don’t know when this phase will be behind us, it will take time for businesses to bounce back because even when the virus cases decrease or get eradicated, consumers will try to play safe step out only for essential needs or opt to shop for groceries, daily essentials and other consumer products online, as a precautionary measure.
Any plan B in place?
Plan B is work from home. By adopting WFH, we are ensuring our services are not on hold as many of our clients too have adapted WFH during this pandemic. It’s a precaution been taken by everyone where work is nowhere being compromised. So while the industry is fighting against the Corona Virus, we have taken our systems home and operating from home. So in simple terms, WFH is plan B to keep the work going while we keep an eye on the daily situation.
Since an economic recession is expected, how do you see your industry getting impacted?
The COVID-19 pandemic will have a lasting impact on the global economy. Retail is one of the worst-hit industries in this pandemic, and it is difficult to say right now what impact it’s going to have. If consumers are not going to step out, there is no point in doing anything at a retail space as it will not serve any purpose to the clients. This global pandemic sounds deceptively like a supply-side problem as companies that are connected internationally will surely impact the industry whereas where Indian brands are concerned, we will have to plan on how to balance demand and supply. Recession will hit certain segments and categories which might take longer than other categories to stabilize.
Do you see this crisis changing the way the whole retail industry will function, moving forward?
No, I don’t think it will bring any change in the way retail will function in the future, but definitely considering the time & monetary loss, demand to meet the customer expectations will go up and need for a robust plan will be required to bring the retail industry to normalcy. Clients have not stopped discussing retail plans with us. This gives a sense that they are utilizing the current situation to plan better so that when the situation is under control they are ready to do things in a streamlined manner as currently there is no action on ground which is happening.