What organic impact could Covid-19 have upon the retail industry?

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With all of us marketers working to adjust our SEO strategies amidst the current coronavirus pandemic, it’s important that we explore the impact being had on organic performance and search interest trends.

As more and more users are being encouraged to stay indoors and avoid public spaces, we are seeing a shift in typical online behaviour. By examining such behaviour shifts, we are able to better understand the current retail landscape. Initial findings show us that there are two main categories of retail site both experiencing complete opposite organic impacts: retail sites that carry typically non-essential goods are experiencing declines in organic traffic while as sites carrying essentials have experienced great organic traffic growth.

These essential retail sites are also seeing an accelerated amount of clicks.

 

With the average number of high street sales rapidly decreasing and online competition rising, many retailers were facing struggle even before the Covid-19 pandemic began, and unfortunately, its impact has been seen to lessen their chances of survival. It is suggested that half of retailers within the UK could be forced to permanently close if the coronavirus persists. Overall sales are forecast to have dropped up to 70% since the beginning of lockdown, meaning retailers risk falling into immediate negative cash flow.

 

So, what changes are retailers making to keep their businesses afloat in these times? With many retailers already announcing administration, Debenhams have recently appointed administrators with the hope that they will be able to save as many of their UK stores as possible; however, 11 of their Irish stores are expected to close their doors for good. In the United States, denim retailers True Religion have unfortunately filed for bankruptcy protection, despite plans to refresh the brand.

 

John Lewis have been seen to launch an online hub offering a range of virtual services, aiming to transfer their in-store expertise to an online platform. Their new service, named ‘your partners through it all’ allows users to book a one-to-one video session with one of their qualified experts for advice on everything from setting up a nursery, to personal styling, to interior design. Where possible, retailers should be looking to provide their services to users from an online platform, helping them to continue to turn a profit in these unprecedented times.

 

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