Those retailers who were quick to adapt – to customers’ needs, challenges in the supply chain, the demand for new products and solutions are the ones who have made steps this year. And they are not insubstantial. Astound Commerce’s 2020 Global Consumer Survey Report states that European consumer satisfaction ratings for online shopping journeys during the Covid-19 lockdown were among the highest globally with shoppers reporting the lowest rate of out-of-stocks and shipping delays during the crisis when compared to other countries.
Instead of just being a buzzword to throw around a strategy meetings, those retailers who have thought about what omnichannel could mean in a Covid world have shown that when it comes to retail, adapting to change and the importance of listening and understanding customers’ needs are actually the fundamental building blocks of it. When faced with store closures, we have seen retailers up their game with online ordering, delivery and stock fulfilment using staff and closed shops. Covid has finessed some retailers’ offering for click and collect, and with all the uncertainty still around, there has definitely been a push in the right direction to make true omnichannel a reality.
Terry Hunter, Managing Director of Astound Commerce UK said: “The high levels of customer satisfaction with the online journey show that omnichannel businesses across the UK and Europe have, for the most part, been agile and able to successfully scale their businesses digitally to meet the changed and increased demand during the pandemic. But inevitably, Covid-19 has accelerated consumer expectations of the online shopping journey. Customers’ expectations on service, delivery, content, price and communication actually went up during the crisis. Retailers are already investing in digital transformation, but for long-term success, it’s crucial they address these emerging and accelerated consumer demands and ensure the ability to meet them is hard-baked into their digital strategies.”
Retailers have been planning for changes in consumers’ expectations and online behaviour, but have generally assumed that these changes would occur over a fairly long period of time. COVID-19 accelerated these changes almost overnight. As McKinsey points out in its ‘How retail can adapt supply chains to win in the next normal’ report, ‘As retailers look to the future, they will need to contend with consumers’ expectation for seamless omnichannel fulfilment, as well as their own increasing productivity pressures.’
This has massive implications for the supply channel so our recommendation is to ensure you are in regular contact with your supplier and make sure they understand your future business aims, so they can be proactively sourcing products and solutions for you ahead of time, helping you to remain agile in the continuing changing times.
Sustainability is still key for shoppers
As the traffic, travel and associated pollution stopped with the global lockdowns, we focused on how nature was reclaiming the space. A key focus before the pandemic, the need for the outdoors as we were kept inside meant that everyone started reviewing where and how they lived. A recent McKinsey report showed that the pandemic will bring values around sustainability into sharper focus.
Several months on since the publication of that report and the focus on what sort of world we want to have when life returns to normal is still a major concern for many. In fact, the push to make changes for a greener world is high on the agenda as we decide what kind of post-pandemic world we want to build, for ourselves and for future generations.
In retail, this means the interest in ethical supply chains, product creation and disposal is still a concern. For brands and retailers who know they have to focus on their eco message to differentiate themselves in the future, our advice is to take the time to talk to your supply chain partners now. If you can demonstrate that your supply chain is already assisting you with your green focus, as well as saving cost, you will be one step ahead of the customers.
Exceptional Customer Service Counts
With the ongoing change and challenges, Worldpack’ Service with Guts, - our ambition to offer exceptional customer service - has really been put to the test in 2020. And we are expecting it to be a bumpy road for retailers at the start of 2021 too. Their next challenges include looking at their supply chain and really putting their goods not for resale (GNFR) under the microscope. 2020 has been a tough year and everyone is looking for changes where savings can be made.
And that is not ignoring shoppers’ expectations, which are continuing to grow. Retailers need to be on their toes to meet demands for continued omnichannel interest and fulfilment. Consumers have reported a high intention to continue using models such as Buy Online, Pick up in store (BOPIS) (56 percent) and grocery delivery (45 percent) after the pandemic. The use of mobile phones as a shopping device doesn’t look like it’s abating any time soon, so retailers needs to ensure they have all bases covered to make it as convenient for shoppers as possible.
As part of our Service with Guts offering, we can provide delivery to your distribution centres or directly to stores to help with fulfilment. We are agile and flexible and unlike other suppliers where you may have had to jump through onerous procurement hoops, we aim to get you what you need and in good time. Plus, we can help to see if we can cut those GNFR costs too.
We are trusted by some of the world’s biggest brands to help with proactive stock management and detailed insights. In 2021, we are continuing to push the boat out to help retailers be as efficient and streamlined as possible as part of our Service with Guts mission. We want to make your life easier, so give us a ring on +31 (0) 88 494 20 80 or email us at email@example.com – it might be the best Christmas present you’ve given yourself yet!
Ps. We really do hope you had a great Christmas full of magical sparkle, food and fizz. All the best for the New Year x