Since the pandemic, distribution channels have suffered due to the intermittent lockdowns, barring physical stores from operating. This has resulted in retailers facing a tough challenge to make their offerings available to consumers. To overcome this challenge and meet demand, retailers are experimenting with mobile retail formats such as pop-up stores and shop on wheels.
During 2020 and 2021, the government has imposed intermittent lockdowns, restricting mobility based on the spread of COVID-19. This has forced people to remain home isolated and postpone demands or shop online. The shift in shopping behaviour continued even when stores reopened as people feared stepping out due to the pandemic. The continued operational costs with limited consumer footfalls forced several retailers to shut their doors, further impacting physical stores.
With distribution channels shut or operational with limited capacity and people limiting stepping out, the challenge for retailers during the pandemic remained how to reach consumers and make offerings available. Though e-commerce acted as a sponge and absorbed demand, the experience and ease attached with physical shopping made consumers yearn for it. This was especially true for older consumers, who tend not to be tech-savvy, and consumers seeking instant gratification when they make a purchase. To address this, fashion retailers were forced to think innovatively, launching new store concepts, such as shop on wheels and weekend shopping events, where temporary pop-up stores were set-up in residential complexes, allowing retailers to engage consumers. This was achieved by leveraging the physical store network of the retailer in the area.
India has ~ 30% and ~10% of its population in the under 17-years-old and over 60-years-old age brackets, respectively. Children outgrow sizes frequently, which makes postponing demand difficult. With the lockdowns impacting availability, parents of these children value convenience and availability, which makes them a target audience. Meanwhile, over 60-year-old consumers are not very tech-savvy and have limited mobility, with little interest in the latest fashion trends, making them a lucrative consumer base as they also value convenience.
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