Online tools have been a lifeline for many in lockdown, helping people stay connected with loved ones, work remotely, access news and information, and shop for essentials. The use of technology by people and businesses leapt forward perhaps five years over a period of eight weeks, and internet usage increased by 60 percent. Changes in consumer behavior are driving businesses to adapt the way they communicate with customers, while retailers around the world have seen their business models turned upside down.
Because of this big shift, digital tools and skills will be a vital catalyst to accelerate an economic comeback. Earlier this summer Google pledged to help 10 million people and businesses in Europe, the Middle East and Africa find jobs, digitize and grow over the next 18 months. Retail, which accounts for more than 9 percent of jobs in the EU alone, will play a pivotal role in the recovery.
We’re here to help retailers respond effectively—so they can quickly understand and act on consumer changes while building their brand both in store and online.Matt Brittin, President, Google Europe, Middle East and Africa
The goal of the campaign is to help retailers of all sizes across the region be ready for the peak shopping season, and working in close partnership with local commerce and trade associations in many countries. Over the next month, Google will introduce new products, tools, free training, unique real time insights and other resources.
One of the topics is the so called “Messy Middle”, the space between a consumer starting their research and making a purchase, where they navigate the explosion of choice and information available to them both online and offline. The messy middle has become even messier over the course of the pandemic—our needs changed, product and store availability became unpredictable. Shoppers have become more open to new brands and outlets, but they also need more help than ever to find the right product at the right price at the right time and place. This big shift is an opportunity for retail businesses large and small.
Other topics include the recovery and growth through digital and how to be successful in delivering an integrated online/offline purchase experience.