MapQuest for Business’s Josh Wilkinson answers questions pertaining to COVID-19’s impact on the retail industry.
COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on nearly every business, regardless of industry or geographic location. With companies now having to navigate new ways of doing business, many are searching for new and reliable technology so that they can make the changes needed on behalf of their companies and customers.
In this Q&A, retail industry expert, Josh Wilkinson of MapQuest for Business, answers five questions about COVID-19’s impact on the industry and how businesses can best manage this time of change.
1. What impact has COVID-19 had on the retail industry?
The retail industry has experienced significant change. Many brick and mortar establishments were forced to close their doors in certain parts of the country and some never reopened. The shift to e-commerce became even more of a focus to consumers as they still desired or needed to purchase retail goods.
2. How are companies responding to these changes?
To overcome the resulting challenges of COVID-19, convenience quickly became a top strategy for retailers, as many were forced to close their doors to in-store shoppers. There has been a dramatic shift towards curbside pick-up, in addition to online shopping. This became a popular option for many as it allowed retailers to keep their brick and mortar locations open despite not being allowed to let shoppers in the store.
To provide convenience to customers, retailers are utilizing location services solutions like those offered by MapQuest for Business. These solutions ensure customers continue to shop at your location by making it fast and easy to find your business.
3. Do you think COVID-19 will change the future of the retail industry?
The retail landscape will likely never return to “normal” as many buyers will look toward continuing purchasing their goods through online e-commerce retailers like Amazon. However, retailers can get ahead of their competition by forming their convenience strategies and implementing location services solutions today.
4. How has MapQuest for Business responded to COVID-19?
MapQuest has enabled many industries with never-sought-after-before location solutions to help keep customers returning to their business during the pandemic. Offering complete routing, navigation, search, geocoding APIs, and SDKs is what we provide to our customers looking to enhance their buyer experience, helping their stores get found on a map or routing delivery drivers to their homes with their purchased items for a contactless experience.
5. What advice do you have for companies on how they can best navigate this time of change and uncertainty?
Retailers should look to building their own e-commerce solutions and partner with delivery companies to bring goods directly to their customer’s doors for a complete contactless shopping experience, as well as offer a buy online pick up in store option. Many retailers have very elaborate in-store experiences in place, designed to keep the customers in the store longer and browse their product selection. With the shift to e-commerce, retailers need to ensure their customer experience is enhanced on the web and in mobile applications, ensuring they continue to browse their products rather than just check out with the few items they had in mind. Consider product videos and demonstrations by experts who make your products. If apparel is your business, be sure to include similar items the customer may like and post multiple pictures on different models that accommodate all body shapes and sizes.
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