Global coronavirus crisis is forcing retailers to rethink their digital strategy, says GlobalData

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Following the news from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) that six in ten UK firms have no more than three months of cash left;  Luke Gowland, thematic analyst atGlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view: “The impact of COVID-19 will be felt for several months, and retailers are in a state of shock. As a matter of survival, retailers must step up their digital strategies. COVID-19 is now less a catalyst than an imperative for retailers to digitally transform.

“Quarantined customers are increasingly turning to ecommerce and retailers without transactional websites have been hit the hardest during the lockdown. For example, Primark has no transactional website and no way to make up for the $650m net sales a month it will lose from its closed stores. Retailers may also suffer in the long-term if current use of ecommerce becomes a long-term trend.

“Retailers with ecommerce channels have been operating at full capacity, which has tested the fragility of their operations. By turning to technologies such as the cloud, process automation, and the Internet of Things (IoT), retailers can improve fulfillment efficiency and reduce customer waiting times.

“One area that stands relatively untouched by technology is the last-mile delivery process. Ecommerce giants like Alibaba and Amazon have made significant investments into last-mile automation. Others will likely follow suit. Thanks to COVID-19, delivery drones and robots may be arriving sooner than imagined.”