As covid hit we witnessed the retail industry take a hit. For many this meant job loss, redundancies, hours cut and placement onto the jobseeker/keeper scheme. For many businesses the Pandemic not only stopped cashflow, but placed their business in jeopardy. The inability to physically open business doors every day meant either close down until the restrictions eased or change the business structure to match the current climate.
E-commerce taking over
Since the covid pandemic took grip on Australia in February/March 2020, we the retail stores shut their doors and watched e-commerce prosper. Over the last 6 months we have seen online orders increase by around 80%.
As consumers change their shopping behaviour and swap from in-store to online, research shows that the increase of online orders will not slow down even after the pandemic ends. This doesn’t mean there will no longer be a need for physical shop fronts, but it will have an impact the way those businesses are able to function and stay afloat.
How to fight back
Staying afloat as a business is challenging enough without throwing a pandemic into the mix. So how much control do we really have to survive this?
As online shopping takes over and retail stores adapt to fulfilling online orders, there are key things that need to be managed when switching from in-store to online:
- Stock management
- Reaching all your customers on time. Every time.
- Online presence and branding
Understanding how to manage stock is often the downfall of a lot of businesses. Stock managers must be able to forecast the demands of a product and have enough stock to fulfil all orders. There are a lot of stock management tools that analyse the incoming and outgoing of products and provide demand estimates based on sales data. These tools save time, reduce the risk of not being able to fulfil orders and lowers chances of over ordering products.
Reaching all your customers on time, every time.
As we all know, customers are becoming less and less patient and now with covid restrictions we are finding ourselves constantly checking the door for deliveries. Reaching customers on time could be the difference between a once off purchase and a returning customer.
The use of route optimisation tools provide the most efficient delivery schedule. Automating a delivery schedule increases delivery capacity by 30%. Delivering 30% more products a day is a significant increase and can be what keeps customers returning, whilst reducing the delivery costs for a business.
Online presence and branding
97% of consumers use the internet to find a product or service. That number will only increase as we continue living in a covid world. That’s why having an online presence is so important. So check your website isn’t outdated, constantly update any e-commerce platforms and make your presence on social media known.
If your customers can’t come to you, take your shop front to them. It’s more challenging and you will need to change the way you operate. Don’t reinvent the wheel, leverage the technology and tools available and scale quickly. Stay safe!