Part 2: International Retailer Reactions

The recent global epidemic is impacting economies world-wide. Last week we noted three retailer reactions to recent events. This week, we explore three additional examples of how retailers abroad are pivoting their marketing, selling and distribution tactics.

McDonald’s Australia has recently announced its intention to offer grocery basics through its Drive-Thru and takeaway services. The move comes in support of local communities during current lockdown restrictions. The offering will include two and three-liter bottles of full cream and skim milk as well as packs of English muffins and gourmet bread rolls. McDonald’s isn’t the first restaurant to pivot into grocery essentials during the lockdown, but it is a pivot from one of the world’s biggest and best providers of convenience. Suddenly, grocery retailers will need to start considering competitors outside of the traditional grocery retail space. This shift of industry giants into new sectors will be challenging for traditional players, but exciting for customers who perhaps stand to benefit the most.

True Balance, the Indian mobile wallet app has teamed up with Indian online retailer ShopClues to bring e-commerce to unbanked Indians. The move has been made in the hope of making shopping for essentials simpler and safer for millions of Indians who do not have bank accounts. ShopClues has introduced much-needed deals for shoppers living in remote villages by giving them access to a variety of value packs, home care supplies and hygiene products. The current necessity to prioritize safety and security is driving innovation for online stores to expand services into underserved communities, regardless of whether or not its shoppers have a bank account. These changes start opening new market opportunities for online retailers which were simply not considered previously, a positive move in e-commerce which will help pave the way into new markets for stores and brands alike.

In China, large luxury brands, such as Louis Vuitton, are seeing a spike in in-store purchases post-quarantine. According to Jean-Jacques Guiony, LVMH’s chief financial officer, “In April, for the large brands, we’ve seen very high growth rates in mainland China, sometimes in excess of 50 per cent. So it really shows the appetite of Chinese people after two months of lockdown to come back to stores and come back to their previous patterns of consumption.” Despite many shoppers moving to online retail during quarantine, Chinese consumers have not completely abandoned the physical shopping experience. China’s shopper reactions can inform and support retailer decisions in countries that were impacted later by COVID-19.

Looking at retail through a global lens offers learning opportunities for all retailers. Staying informed about global retail reveals innovations and new ways of thinking outside of one’s country. With these key learnings in mind, retailers can adapt and implement them to their market.

Contributed by: Michael Krog, Senior Integrated Planner, Integer London

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