How are Retailers and Suppliers Facilitating us During COVID-19 Pandemic?
With the spread of the CoronaVirus, every sector has tried to add their contributions for the good of humanity, and so have the retailers and suppliers.
Retailers and suppliers have also suffered due to the lockdown situations during Covid 19. Still, they have tried to give people their essential requirements without leaving the house—this way, they have put in their service for the community’s well-being. From grocery stores to pharmacies, retailers have risen to the challenges and reached customers in these difficult times.
As the economies and livelihoods collapsed during the pandemic, suppliers and retailers have found a way to survive the pandemic by making exceptional efforts. These efforts have resulted in the rotation of goods from store shelves to the customer’s doorsteps. Also, suppliers have created transparency in their dealings.
This article discusses the measures taken by the retailers and suppliers to resolve the challenges brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Consumer Spending Alterations during Pandemic
There has been a vast shift in the spending mindset of the masses during COVID-19. People have restricted their spending, and a change in the purchasing patterns was observed. The sale of items that come under necessities such as food, medicine, toiletries, household supplies, etc., has seen a steady increase. In Contrast, items such as furnishing, fashion clothing, and accessories that can be termed as luxury items have been tailed off.
Many governments have also posed restrictions on the opening of physical stores. This made the store owners shift from physical selling towards online selling and delivering products to people’s homes. According to a survey, residents of many developed nations like the United Kingdom, Italy, the United States, Spain, etc., showed interest in spending only on necessities like groceries. They stopped spending on luxuries to save as much as possible.
A McKinsey survey also reported a huge tendency of people towards online shopping as many retailers and suppliers have shifted from onsite physical stores to online stores. These stores have made it possible for people to get what they need from the comfort of their homes. Store owners supervise all processes of taking orders, assembling and packaging, and dispatching to the consumer’s doorstep.
Delivery app download has shown a 200% increase with more grocery and medical stores providing home deliveries. Also, traffic has increased on the online sites of these stores and decreased at movie theatres, malls, restaurants, parks, and other public spaces.
Adaptation of Suppliers and Retailers in four Priority Areas
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world. It has forced suppliers and retailers to adapt to the current scenario through urgent measures to survive and provide service to the community. They exhibited adjustments and adaptation in the following priority areas:
Retailers and supplies had to work closely with the companies to meet the surging demand as many items went out of stock. They ensured on-shelf availability of necessary products for the general public and, in turn, provided a massive service to the community. They secured adequate supply for high-demand items by holding meetings and working day and night.
Food and drugs became the first and the foremost priority of these retailers and suppliers. They took efforts to establish fast and reliable delivery to the consumer.
Redirecting Merchandise Inventory
Retailers had to revise their purchase plans to fulfill the product orders. They needed to change their planning, purchasing, and inventory management to keep a cascade of supply.
They also reallocated space for essential items such as canned goods to ensure replenishment and availability of these necessary items. Also, they re-assigned merchandise operation staff and had to conduct quick training and onboarding to have enough coverage to carry out operations smoothly.
Increasing Distribution Capacity
The retailers and suppliers had to increase distribution capacity to facilitate prompt home deliveries and online orders. Also, many retailers relocated their office workers to the distribution centres to fulfil requirements where sales are the highest. For this, they train new workers to pick, pack and deliver along with keeping records.
Also, the health of these distribution workers matters for smooth operations, so retailers and suppliers had to take additional precautions for their safety. This not only includes following strict rules but also maintaining healthy workplace hygiene. Extra cleaning and disinfecting crew had to be hired to sanitize at regular intervals. The staff was also provided training on inadequate health procedures.
Providing Instant Deliveries
Going out shopping during a pandemic can endanger consumers’ lives. Still, there are a number of products that people need on an urgent basis. For example medicines, daily grocery, and sometimes even accessories like eyeglasses, garments, etc. Many pharmacies are delivering within a few hours of the order. Similarly, groceries are being delivered on the same day as the order placement. The eyeglass industry is also not lagging behind in providing next day glasses delivery to their online customers. Companies like Warby Parker, Overnight Glasses, etc are trying their best for such facilitation.
Managing Balance in Costs
Due to the pandemic, there was a surge in demand for many other expenses such as transportation costs, freight costs, etc. Both these categories have seen a spike in prices due to increased demand.
The increased costs made the cost of these essential items also increase due to the additional expenses. To curb costs, suppliers adopt creative strategies like simplifying packaging, shipping directly from the manufacturer to the store, eliminating transport to the warehouses, etc. Also, some suppliers partner with other retailers to get the economies of scale and make availability of essential items to the public promptly at minimum possible costs.