Covid-19: Key Lessons for Retailers
These are challenging times for businesses and retail in particular. Retail, especially brick and mortar stores have been most affected by the Covid 19 pandemic no thanks to social distancing and forced locked down.
As uncertainty becomes the norm for the retail across geographies, retailers must begin plans for the post Covid-19 era. While supply chains have been disrupted, and consumer demand has diminished alarmingly, industry players must effect significant changes to de-risk themselves — such as revisiting the inventory assortments as consumers shift to buying essential items; adopting a short-term, three-month business plan; restructuring budget reallocations; going omnichannel with more focus on online sales, and postponing expansion plans.
Here are key areas retailers must focus on following the lessons learnt from the Covid 19 pandemic.
Renewed focus on online presence
An increasing focus on online presence, transactions, adaptation to technology, is one of the cards on the table for the retailers looking to a quick revival post Covid 19 pandemic. Retailers may do well to not only have a renewed interest in having an online presence for instance, it is actually in their best interest to embrace having online presence as the new normal, and a fundamental factor in retail survival and revival post Covid 19.
Embrace the new normal
Retail revival from the aftermath of the Covid 19 pandemic could take 9-12 months. Therefore, to hasten the revival, retailers must embrace de-risk strategies that includes inventory changes, short-term business plans and budget reallocation. In addition, retailers must take necessary steps to more be frugal with costs, quickly add more suppliers, more safety stock, localize merchandise, compare to over reliance on imported products or one supplier.
Reorganize Your Inventory
Consumers have become cautious due to the Covid-19 pandemic and will be bearish on discretionary spends once normalcy is restored in the coming months. In addition, consumer sentiments would be to buy essentials, live with less and expect more value on every kobo spent. Brands that can respond with agility to new realities, new emerging trends, will gain traction faster
Slimmer margins are making it difficult if not impossible for retail players to continue with the current cost levels. Many, may be forced to declares a force majeure. Retailers must work on measure to reduce overheads, stop current ads and embrace space optimization for cost rationalization.
Future-proof supply chain issues
Supply chain disruption remains one of the biggest issues for retail players during Covid 19 pandemic. Some key suppliers have still not been able to supply products to their retail partners. Some retail players have started running their own trucks to transport goods from warehouses to the stores so as to keep up with demand.
Key supply chain learning from Covid 19 are multi-sourcing which reduces reliance on any one supplier is the best inventory strategy and antidote against supply chain disruptions. Adopting this strategy means retailers will be well positioned to stabilize future supply chain challenges that may arise from real or anticipated changes in customer behaviour and operate in scenarios like Covid 19.
Covid-19: Key Lessons for Retailers – What other lessons have you learnt?