In this second post in a series based on the Art of the Drop report, we present top Covid-19 retail challenges paired with drop-model solutions

The pandemic of 2020 has created a unique set of circumstances for retailers to contend with—yet many of the solutions to lockdown's limitations can be found in industry trends and transformations that began before the events of this year. From investing in social technologies and conversational commerce to drop-shipping and flexible fulfillment, these engagement-building strategies offer six compelling reasons to leverage a drop today.

Challenge

As stores reopen, they’re taking on more of a utilitarian role rather than an experiential one, and are being redesigned to help shoppers quickly access necessary items and avoid long lines or overcrowded spaces.

Opportunity

With the shift away from store experience, retailers can bring the excitement and emotional engagement of shopping into the digital realm. By leveraging interactive and/or social technologies like AR/VR, gaming and live streams to deliver product drops, retailers can fill a gap in consumers’ daily lives.

Challenge

Customers are looking to brands and retailers for more than simply products, including flexible services, community support and ongoing communications around actions being taken.

Opportunity

Finding ways to build and engage community is more critical than ever during this moment. The product drop can be a powerful tool to drive attention, which can then be directly tied to community initiatives or leveraged to inform audiences or new services that provide support during this time.

Challenge

There’s a greater value being placed on the ability to complete purchases through alternate channels like social media and text, and have items fulfilled in multiple contexts from BOPIS to at-home delivery.

Opportunity

As consumer attention and behaviors shift to digital, brands and retailers must find ways to meet customers where they are at all stages of the purchase path. When promoted through digital channels and paired with flexible fulfillment capabilities, drops can be scaled globally and made accessible to an even wider audience.

Challenge

As global regions navigate lockdown regulations, supply chains from manufacturing to shipping have been severely disrupted, impacting businesses across the board and highlighting the need for greater operational agility.

Opportunity

By adopting a product drop mentality, businesses can tie consumer demand more closely to manufacturing and supply, ensuring the right inventory threshold to generate excitement and sales. By pairing this with drop-shipping capabilities, companies can build in additional flexibility, while driving efficiencies and speeding time to consumers.

Challenge

Faced with greater uncertainty, customers are seeking more direct relationships with favored brands that go beyond transactions into one-to-one engagement and support.

Opportunity

As digital-first behaviors accelerate, brands can leverage product drops as a way to engage consumers beyond the sale. Channels like chat and social media enable two-way conversation that can extend into post-purchase support and value-add services like product education.

Challenge

Shoppers are prioritizing need-based and convenience-oriented purchases, making it even more difficult for brands selling non-essential items to resonate with consumers.

Opportunity

Reposition non-essentials by creating drops that build value around the product. Offer limited-edition goods that tie into give-back initiatives or create entertainment around an offering to drive conversation and build community.

This article is part of a series sharing content from PCH and PSFK's Art of the Drop report—download the full report free here