Post Covid Industry Best Practice in Retail & Online

The Covid-19 pandemic is devastating for those with pre-existing conditions. But it also mobilises the best in all others: unforeseen creativity, outstanding personal engagement, true loyalty and support among many more qualities.

There is no way around acknowledging that the situation is grim wherever you look and listen across the brand and retail industry, in parts even online. But if we pay close attention, we can also observe new brand industry best practice emerging.

Brand managers calling customers from home, designers crafting masks on their sewing machines, store managers creating Instagram stories from the shop floor, CEOs selling on TV, store clerks serving customers in waiting lines, among many forms of invisible personal engagement to bring back customers as friends. And that’s worth sharing and promoting.

We rediscover that store clerks and customers have eyes to connect with one another (Photo: Vera Davidova)

Emerging Industry Best Practices

Brand Industry Best Practice curated by Brand Growth Inspiration (Graphic: Brand Pilots)

What’s true for all of us, is true for retailers and brands: Good health is important to make it through a crisis. These past weeks have demonstrated that good practices more than ever show their value. And as Covid-19 stats across countries and age groups show, being healthy beforehand leads to a good chance of survival. In the brand & retail industry, good practices across all company functions will be the reason why some brands will come out of this crisis and others won’t.

While pre-existing conditions in humans cannot be remedied by sheer hard work and willpower, brands and retailers are in the fortunate situation of having a great deal of control over their health. If you, for example, didn’t foster excellent HR management before, you can’t rely on your staff to work harder during a crisis. If you didn’t communicate with consumers before the pandemic, they likely won’t answer your call when trying to reach them now. And so on.

Supervisory Management

Adidas, like all brands not without challenges, seems a little fitter than many other brands (Photo: Brand Pilots)

Good Old & Beautiful New Values

The survival of the fittest is by no means a new challenge. Retailers and brands that practised good workmanship in the past were the ones that thrived rather than just survived. Now we are thrown back in time and reminded to work harder and keep our business fit.

Good to be fit in tougher times (Photo Chander R.)

As flight schedules have reverted to what they were in the sixties, management priorities have too. As have your bankers’ and shareholders’ expectations. So in future, be prepared to be asked for your cash flow and equity ratios before discussing growth rates.

And if you want to gage your readiness for this new old world, this what I would ask:

  • Tell me how well you cared for the quality of your process and tools in the past, and I tell you how likely you are to get through this.
  • Tell me how much you have invested in developing your personnel, and I tell you how much you can expect in engagement payback now.
  • Tell me how much you cared about cash flow and quality growth vs. maximum growth speed, and I tell you how exhausted your 2020 balance sheet will look.

Let’s face it, no one was expecting this crisis, and no one is to blame for not being in perfect in shape in preparation for it. No one was. But there have been voices all over to remind us to look at different values.

We knew our industry was going too fast, too fast for our state of health. But like in The Emperor’s New Clothes, we needed a child to tell us that our world is in bad shape.

Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg (Photo: Anders Hellberg CC BY-SA 4.0)

The question is, did we listen and change?

Those who did are better prepared for what is coming. Those who have reduced their carbon footprint and moved your sourcing travels mostly online, have embraced new industry best practices in sourcing. Those who haven’t, currently have to work very hard to get there.

So nothing is all that new in post-Covid times. Because good workmanship is most likely the core reason your company still exists. But just good is no longer good enough, it needs to be best practice.

If you are looking learn from brand industry best practices, pick ideas and inspiration, have a browse through our best practice archive:

industry best practice archive

It’s not as complex to hone best practices as you may think. And as you may have to return to growth with fewer resources, the post-covid era is an opportunity to finally focus on just a few important things and do those with excellence.

Prioritise Industry Best Practice Management

Once you have stopped your cash bleeding and secured the company’s mid-term life, coming out of recovery and pushing for industry best practice is the best rehab you can get. Like your doctor might say, “it is never too late to start to exercise”.

The next Covid-19 will come for sure, adopt industry best practice management now (Graphic: Brand Pilots)  

Prioritise good workmanship and you become truly successful. Invest in quality growth to get your brand & retail in balance. All areas! Because, where is the value in having an outstanding design department, but a finance department that neither had the tools to manage this crisis nor strong relationship management with local banks?

You only stay out of hospital if all the parts of your body are in good shape. Industry best practice management is keeping all gears of an organisation aligned and in balance. Go for it and encourage others to live for industry best practice too. For a long life in brand, retail and online!

This collection of creative industry best practice marks the return to a weekly publishing schedule for Brand Growth Inspiration. We’ve lined up new and returning contributors who will share best practices from Asia, Europe, and the US for your inspiration. To not miss out,

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About the Author:

Guido is known for being a dedicated hunter and collector of industry best practices in the brand, retail & online world. Connect with him on LinkedIn and he will share his rich experience with you or help you design your very own scorecard for post-Covid growth.

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