Ananya Pathak
Post Lockdown

"Some people will go back to the good old days of just turning up at a store, not taking or expecting any precautions"

Here's how Ritesh Ghosal, CMO, Croma-Infiniti Retail, believes the market and consumer behaviour will change post lockdown.

For an interview under our 'Post Lockdown' section, we reached out to Croma-Infiniti Retail's (a TATA enterprise) chief marketing officer Ritesh Ghosal to get his take on how the market in his category will change post lockdown.

In his 25 years of experience, Ghosal has headed marketing for various brands, including Raymond, Tata Teleservices, Bharti Retail, and Millward Brown.

Here's what he had to say:

Once the lockdown is lifted, what will be your top 3 big priorities?

It is evident that the lifting of the lockdown will be a gradual process. It's not as if one fine day, things will go back to the way they were. It’s a defining event in the history of the world, and one thing is sure, the world will never be the same again.

Long after the lockdown is over, people will be circumspect in public places and wary of social contact with strangers. For us, the number one task is to put in place measures to make our stores safe places for our staff to work in. Second will be to reassure our customers that Croma provides a safe space for them to interact with the staff. Third will be to create digital channels to access the store and the expertise of our staff.

Will your market behave the way it was before the lockdown, or will there be subtle changes?

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the very psyche of the human race. Nothing will be the same... I foresee three kinds of behaviour:

a. Some people will want to shop from the comfort of their homes.

b. Some will want to visit the stores, but be very sure that there is no crowding and all steps are being taken to maintain hygiene before they enter.

c. And finally, some people will want to go back to the good old days of just turning up at a store, not taking any precautions themselves, nor expecting any from the retailer.

At Croma, we are gearing up to serve the first two types and to protect these two from the risks posed by the third. We expect heightened demand in two categories:

(1) Products that make the home more comfortable – from convenience gadgets like dishwashers and robotic vacuum cleaners to entertainment gadgets like TVs, gaming consoles and music systems.

(2) Products that help us be more productive – laptops, printers, WiFi routers, etc. We also expect people to prefer buy-now-pay-later options, given the current environment of constrained liquidity.

Will your broad view of marketing communication be different from before, in some way?

We will be communicating our proposition along the above lines, and sticking to our commitment to creating a culture of responsible consumption – buy less, use for longer and dispose responsibly. If anything, the impact the lockdown has had on the environment has reinforced our commitment to this cause.