Essay on COVID-19 and Strategic Management in the Retail Industry

Published: 2021/11/08
Number of words: 1248


The outbreak of covid-19 has impacted strategic management of operations in various firms across the world. The retail industry in Hong Kong has been hit significantly due to disruptions as caused by the outbreak of the pandemic (John and Walford, 2021). It is vital to explore how the pandemic has changed operations for many firms in most industries across the world. The retail industry in Hong Kong is responsible for ensuring that consumers can get what they want readily in the market. There are a number of ways that the industry has been impacted by the pandemic and it is vital to explore both negative and positive consequences (Choi and Sethi, 2021). It is important to note that most firms in the retail sector have adopted new strategies towards handling of business operations amid the outbreak of coronavirus. For instance, restaurants that sell food products to people in the region have resorted to utilize online platforms to run their operations.

Differences in the Industry between 2019 and now

The 2019 social unrest in Hong Kong and the outbreak of coronavirus has impacted operations for many retailers in a significant manner. There is a clear and distinct difference between strategic management of firms in the retail industry and the mode of operation amid the threatening pandemic (John and Walford, 2021). Industry conditions between 2019 and now has changed to accommodate the various changes as compelled by the outbreak of the virus. The first notable difference in the industry is that the number of customers visiting physical stores in the country has reduced to a large extent. The fact that coronavirus outbreak led to establishment of measures and guidelines to combat its spread (Sharma et al., 2020). People were advised to stay home and avoid public gatherings as a way of fighting the pandemic within the region. It is vital to highlight that the restrictions that were put in place have negatively impacted retail business in a significant manner. Individuals in the market have been forced to purchase products online as a way of complying with set guidelines towards preventing further spread for the virus (Hao, Xiao and Chon, 2020). In essence, retail business had more customers visiting physical stores in the year 2019 as compared to now when many prefer to purchase products online. The difference between 2019 and now is that the retail sector in Hong Kong has reduced the number of retail sales through physical stores in a significant manner.

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The second difference is that the retail industry has shifted focus towards selling of products on online platforms. For instance, many supermarkets in the country have established online stores that help customers to shop conveniently from remote locations (Brem, Viardot and Nylund, 2021). In essence, the outbreak of the pandemic has compelled many organizations to look for alternative approaches that can help improve sells in a significant manner. Travel restrictions and ban on public gatherings have both contributed to reduced retail sales in Hong Kong since 2019. Most businesses in the country initially did not utilize e-commerce as a way of conveniently handling business (Man and Lau, 2005). In 2020, the pandemic forced many to come up with strategies that can cushion their businesses against failure. One of the most commonly applied strategies in the retail industry is the online selling of products. Customers now enjoy the efficiency and effectiveness of conducting or ordering for products online (Sharma et al., 2020). In essence, the fact that companies initially relied on physical stores when selling products is a clear difference as most of them have shifted to online retailing of various products. Examples of firms that have focused on online retailing during the pandemic is Wellcome, Parknshop, and Great Food Hall.

How Strategies in the Industry need to Change

It is vital to explore how strategies in the retail industry in Hong Kong need to change to accommodate the new conditions as poised by covid-19. The firs strategy that can prove essential in changing and adopting to new conditions in the market is the utilization of digital technology (Man and Lau, 2005). Digital technology in business has had a far much reaching impact on various operations, especially in the retail industry. It is the role of managers in various retail firms to develop a rigorous strategy that utilizes new technology. E-commerce business can do better when promoted by improved technology. For instance, the firms in the retail industry should utilize social media platforms to market their products and reach out to more customers (Brem, Viardot and Nylund, 2021). Online platforms have more traffic and utilizing the opportunity can help players in the industry improve significantly. The focus should shift towards handling clients in a professional manner through online communications.

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Ensuring the security of customer information when making or conducting online transactions should be a priority for each firm in the retail industry in Hong Kong (Hao, Xiao and Chon, 2020). One of the most challenging aspects that threaten the continuity of online business is the issue of privacy and security of information. Losing credit card information to unauthorized individuals can be detrimental towards protection of information for customers. Businesses should guarantee their customers protection for sensitive information regarding various transactions on online platforms (Choi and Sethi, 2021). The fact that many business have resolved to sell products online due to the effects of the pandemic requires that firms in the retail industry improve strategic handling of sensitive data. In essence, improving security and privacy of information would prove strategic as well as utilizing digital technology in handling every transaction.


To sum it up, the outbreak of coronavirus has impacted operations in many companies across the world. The retail industry is the most affected since 2019 in Hong Kong as sales have reduced significantly. Conditions in the industry have since changed for many firms in a bid to boost business operations. The industry has changed as many people have started purchasing products on online platforms from remote locations in a convenient manner. Equally, the numbers of customers who visit physical stores within the industry have reduced due to the effects of the pandemic. To help control the situation, firms should utilize digital technology and improve security of information for customers. The two strategies can help change the situation and ensure that firms have adopted o the new industry conditions.


Brem, A., Viardot, E. and Nylund, P.A., 2021. Implications of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak for innovation: Which technologies will improve our lives?. Technological forecasting and social change163, p.120451.

Choi, T.M. and Sethi, S.P., 2021. Innovative Service Operations for Survivals of SMEs under COVID-19: Two Cases in Hong Kong. IEEE Engineering Management Review49(1), pp.50-54.

Hao, F., Xiao, Q. and Chon, K., 2020. COVID-19 and China’s hotel industry: Impacts, a disaster management framework, and post-pandemic agenda. International journal of hospitality management90, p.102636.

John, S.P. and Walford, R., 2021, June. Social Media in FMCG Marketing: Understanding How Supermarkets Use Facebook During the COVID-19 Pandemic. In Digital Marketing & eCommerce Conference (pp. 184-191). Springer, Cham.

Man, T.W. and Lau, T., 2005. The context of entrepreneurship in Hong Kong: An investigation through the patterns of entrepreneurial competencies in contrasting industrial environments. Journal of small business and Enterprise Development.

Sharma, P., Leung, T.Y., Kingshott, R.P., Davcik, N.S. and Cardinali, S., 2020. Managing uncertainty during a global pandemic: An international business perspective. Journal of business research116, pp.188-192.

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