How Retail Stores Can Begin Adapting to Coronavirus Changes
Many states have begun reopening. Maryland, Florida, and Oregon are among some who are beginning to allow retail stores to open their doors again. However, most retail locations are still limited to the number of people they can have in the store at any one time. Retailers also have to be careful about how people handle merchandise and increase their cleaning and sanitizing initiatives across the board. As a result, many merchants are still doing most of their business online.
Naturally, this is changing the way that stores handle their logistics and shipping needs. Fewer items need to come directly to the brick and mortar location while more is being shipped to customers. If your business is trying to figure out how best to handle the new normal of operating a retail location, we have a few tips for you.
Prepare for Supply Chain Changes
Not only is it likely that your supply chain is no longer the same due to shifts in the way that organizations are conducting business, but chances are your business also needs different things.
If you are still doing more online than in-store transactions, what you need to fulfill those orders is going to be different. You may suddenly need fewer shopping bags and more shipping boxes. You may also notice that people are buying differently. With nearly 35% of people shopping online since the pandemic began (up 10% from pre-pandemic numbers), you are going to need to shift your focus.
Keep the lines of communication open between your vendors and your customers so you can better understand what they need – and in turn, what you need to be successful.
Factor in Shipping and Warehousing Modifications
When you’re doing more online business, you’re not going to have the bandwidth to handle all of the shipping yourself. Your warehousing needs are also likely to scale up.
Handling shipping from your retail location on your own can be expensive and time-consuming, especially if you have to create a whole new system to make it work. If you already have a warehousing solution, you know how much easier handling online orders is when the process is automated from the shipping facility.
If you aren’t already working with a warehousing or logistics solutions company, now is a great time to find one that works well for you.
The most important thing you can do right now, regardless of the type of business you own, is to be flexible. Understand that your suppliers are adapting to a new normal, as are your customers. Make sure that you communicate with both parties and understand frustrations as everyone adjusts.
Consider offering discounts for lengthier shipping and fulfillment times – see if you can find out what the expected delay time is from your suppliers as well so you can give your customers a realistic expectation of when they will receive their order.
If you have questions about the best way to handle your retail logistics during this unprecedented time, AFP Global Logistics can help. Give us a call at 800-274-1237 or contact us on the website for more information.