Rumour has it that when iconic fashion brand Hermès staged a post-pandemic re-opening of its flagship store in Guangzhou in April, sales topped out at $2.7 million over the course of a single day. This impressive figure – thought to be the highest ever for a single shop in China – isn’t just about eye-popping retail metrics, it’s also giving hope to the luxury retailers that have seen profits fall through the floor in the wake of Covid-19.
Observers are citing the event as an example of so-called ‘revenge’ shopping – a concept first coined in China back in the 1980s, when a frenzy of pent-up consumerism was unleashed in response to the government’s relaxation of controls on the import of foreign goods. More recently, the term has been used to describe the mood of ordinary citizens dreaming of treating themselves to much-missed indulgences in a post-quarantine world.
It’s not just high-end brands that are banking on this kind of lockdown bounce, though. China’s premier business-to-consumer retail platform Tmall has already reported a double-digit uptick against the same period (March) in 2019, with beauty brands like Estée Lauder and Lancôme, as well as sports and leisure wear giants like Nike also recording gains.
Adapt and survive
Retailers all over the world will be hoping that their customers will follow the example set by Chinese shoppers so they can kick start businesses that have been severely scaled back during lockdown. As people begin to contemplate a return to some level of normality – all be it subject to new rules – high street shops and their online equivalents should be prepared for a sharp spike in demand from consumers fresh out of isolation.
Businesses that have demonstrated agility over the last few months are the ones most likely to build resilience in the tough times ahead. The pandemic has forced organisations to review, evaluate and adjust their operations in order to survive. Even though the crisis is a temporary one, how individual businesses continue to react and adapt will have long-term impact on tangibles such as profitability, as well as non-tangibles like brand reputation.
The physical restrictions placed on citizens has forced organisations to place more emphasis on their online interface – be it for straightforward sales or to more efficiently manage the broader customer relationship, as face-to-face and phone-line resources are increasingly stretched. Many companies have taken the opportunity to ramp up existing ecommerce facilities, while others have dipped their toes into the online shopping pool for the first time.
Veterans and newbies alike recognise the need to create an online experience that reflects, supports and amplifies their brand values.
The serious business of testing and monitoring
Our experience working with some of the high street’s biggest brands has reinforced the importance of being properly and comprehensively prepared for online browsers and buyers – even during periods of peak traffic. While businesses are responding quickly to the increased demand for online shopping provision, it’s crucial that effective monitoring and testing programmes are established to ensure a smooth, error-free experience.
What are the benefits of thinkTribe’s web monitoring and load testing services?
Our realistic monitoring and load testing programmes are designed to replicate customer journeys, returning actionable data that will optimise the UX:
- Pinpointing the crucial performance issues that are negatively impacting your users
- Ensuring third parties are operating as intended with no adverse effects
- Identifying bottlenecks that may be impeding progress and blocking sales
It’s never too early to start conversations with business and technology stakeholders on the subject of optimising the user experience (UX). If retailers do experience the same snapback as has been part of the retail recovery in China, the ecommerce leaders who’ve taken the opportunity to prepare for the onslaught will reap the greatest rewards.
thinkTribe can help.
We’re happy to talk through your hopes, plans and challenges – and help you get ready for the next phase. Meanwhile, why not pick our virtual brain by downloading our Perma Peak report + Guide to preparing your site for peak traffic