Change Has Been, and Will Be, Constant
Homes have become the new frontline for many of the activities that used to take place in a variety of different locales. They are now offices, schools, restaurants, and living spaces. The effect on the supply chain has been fundamental and far reaching.
A perfect example can be found in the way consumers are thinking about, shopping for, and using home furnishings. While traditionally thought of as a durable good, home furniture has undergone a similar shift in the past year. As we use our living spaces for so many things, people are seeking out furniture that’s multifunctional – tables that can be used for dining and desk space, living room furnishings that can be part of an entertainment center or schoolroom, etc. Consumers had been used to separate spaces and things for separate functions, but that paradigm has shifted.
This same shift has occurred to many, if not all, of the products we use in our daily lives. The crucial question for the supply chain becomes, “Is this permanent and how can we be ready for future change?”
Evidence certainly exists that the future will be transformed. There may be shoppers out there who will never walk the aisles of a grocery store again. Online ordering and curbside delivery have changed the business paradigm in that area – likely forever. That will affect many aspects of the grocery world, from the warehouse to advertising. Having the right inventory in the right place at the right time will be necessary, as will effective promotion of deals and products – even if the customer is no longer looking at choices on a shelf.
How to Entice Shoppers in the Digital Aisles and Checkout Lines
The rapid increase of online order volume and the advent of contactless pick-up and delivery calls for grocery retailers to reimagine traditional tactics. March online grocery sales matched their all-time record of $9.3 billion in January, with pickup and delivery sales also growing over 16%. With the continued growth of convenient fulfillment options, that candy bar that was tossed onto the conveyer at the last moment now must be sold through a smart, personalized digital avenue.
Seller and buyers alike are looking at products differently. The spectrum of product life cycles must be considered from advertising, through sales, to purchase and fulfilment. The patterns for the purchase and consumption of pet foods is indicative of a change that has been real and substantial. When the pandemic took hold, more and more people stayed home and their pets (both new and existing) stayed with them. This resulted in a greater emphasis on smaller bags of food being purchased with greater frequency and sent to private homes instead of the larger quantities typically sold to “doggy daycares” and kennels. Other examples of this increase in home-oriented goods are increased sales of air-fryers, coffee makers, freezers, barbeque grills and smokers.
Will these substantial purchases convince people to stay home and continue using them when restaurants and coffee shops reopen? Retailers of every stripe are poring over the data to decide how to approach that future. The answers lie in a smart combination of technology, analysis, and rapid application of the lessons the market is trying to teach. Those enterprises that work with their supply chain partners best will be the ultimate winners.
To learn more about how you can you meet and exceed consumer demands with an efficient and productive supply chain in a highly competitive market, visit our Supply Chain Solutions page.
how you can you meet and
exceed consumer demands?
With an efficient and highly productive supply chain.