Year 2022 has been a milestone in the sense of decent recovery after a serious downturn due to Covid 19 in 2020 and in 2021. Post lifting of lock down, the comeback of customers to shopping, both online and offline, was initially considered by many as pent up demand/ revenge buying. However, if we look back, we would see that life comes in phases. We witness some big incident that results in a major downtrend in retail industry and decent growth is followed after the event is over. We can validate this with the growth seen after the downturn around 2001/2002, recession in 2007/2008 and a few other such events in the past few years. Year 2022 proved to be a live example where the history repeated itself. Most retailers, including us, saw decent growth in year 2022 and in my opinion, it was not driven by pent up demand or revenge buying alone. Year 2022, of course taught us a few lessons, some good and some bad, which existed in the system from a long time, though got reinforced again with greater force during this year.
Fashion industry has always been a synonym for looking and feeling good & comfortable. Post Covid 19 and with development of technology, customers are now looking for convenience as well. Retailers need to be present where their target customer is present. Hence, it became more important for brands to be present through muti channels; Online and Offline, EBOs and MBOs, Travel Retail and City Retail, etc. with capabilities of being Omni channel. Another thing that many retailers finally realised this year is that it’s the beautiful amalgamation of Physical and Digital that drives growth for retail brands.
Another very important learning, which was perhaps unique to this period, is that collaboration is extremely important to survive during difficult times. The manner in which retailers and developers collaborated with each other during Covid 19, was unprecedented. In fact, the phase taught all of us that collaboration with all stakeholders is extremely important for retailers to work efficiently. Whether it is your customers, shareholders, board, developers, suppliers, partners, employees etc. Constructive collaboration helps us sail through the tough times together.
The Author, Rajesh Jain is MD and CEO of Lacoste India