The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown many aspects of everyday life and business into chaos, including the retail world. Along with these challenges, however, key retailers have also gained valuable insight into potential weaknesses in their current procedures, forcing them to respond and adapt in ways which may ultimately yield major benefits for them even after the current crisis has receded.
We’ve noted four important ways that our retailers have responded to this crisis:
1. Retailers Experienced Different Fortunes in Different Verticals
Some retail verticals experienced especially serious setbacks as COVID-19 shut down stores and kept buyers at home. At first, customers tended to focus on essential purchases while putting non-essential purchases aside. As a result, sellers of publications, energy pills, wireless chargers, and other such products suffered. Meanwhile, products viewed as critical for everyday survival or quality of life, such as propane, baked goods and beverages (including alcoholic beverages), have done quite well. Additionally, we’ve seen a spike in novelty items and products to keep the kids busy while they’re stuck at home. This variable in performance points toward the need to monitor demand and control stock for different types of items with optimal responsiveness.
2. Retailers Had to Rethink Their In-Store Queues and Occupancy Policies
The need for social distancing has forced sudden, massive changes in the ways that retailers govern their in-store foot traffic. Even though states have begun easing their lockdown restrictions, many retailers can only receive visitors at 25 to 50 percent of capacity. This need makes it more important than ever for retailers to control the number of people coming and going through the store. Scan Based Trading delivery can ease the transaction by eliminating invoice signing, merchandise counting, and other activities that traditionally require the presence of on-site merchandisers.
3. Retailers Changed Their Delivery Methods for DSD Suppliers
Direct store delivery (DSD) has played a crucial role in helping many key retailers move large volumes of high-demand consumer goods during the pandemic. However, retailers have also seen the need to modify some aspects of their DSD processes to accommodate COVID-19 concerns. Changes include the elimination of store-level paper invoices, the adoption of wider delivery windows, and policies requiring personnel to stay at least six feet away from customers during delivery. These are all benefits realized with Scan Based Trading.
4. Retailers Ramped Up Their Curbside, Online, and Third-Party Delivery
Social distancing has led many key retailers to shift their emphasis toward out-of-store delivery options. These retailers have either maintained, increased, or launched such features as curbside, online, “pay-at-the-pump,” and third-party delivery capabilities. Convenience stores might even benefit from the creation of home delivery subscription services.
What’s the common denominator among these points? They all indicate the tremendous value of Scan Based Trading for streamlining the supply-to-retailer chain and providing maximum flexibility during uncertain times (or any other time, for that matter.)
If your own retail business needs to adopt smoother, more efficient techniques to navigate all kinds of choppy waters — from current pandemics to future unknowns — contact the Nexxus Group to find out how we can help.