Influx of online shopping for “new essentials.” As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, how and what people are buying has changed. Although people continue shopping, they are more conscious of what they spend money on. With more time being spent at home, there has been a rise in a new category of goods being referred to as “new essentials.” This category includes products that make staying at home more comfortable, such as office supplies, exercise gear, home improvement-related items, and hobby supplies. In fact, these new essential categories make up nearly 40% of sales among consumers.
Increased ecommerce delivery and supply chain concerns. An increase in demand is a good thing, but there is concern that supply won’t be able to meet it.
Companies who have built immense in-sourced fulfillment networks are considering outsourcing.This is owed largely to the fixed nature of owned or leased fulfillment assets amid the constant change. Fulfillment shifts are difficult for asset-heavy operators and they may lack the financial flexibility to diversify.
Online stores are diversifying products. Businesses have pivoted to stay competitive, adding soaps and other hygiene products, medical supplies, or various DIY or self-care related products.
Rise of purchasing groceries online. Online grocery delivery services are booming, acquiring new customers even outside their previous majority demographic.
Increased coronavirus-related ecommerce stores. The rise of ecommerce platforms has lowered the barrier to entry to sell online, a positive thing for retailers providing quality products to their customers.
Conduct a customer-needs evaluation. Think about your target or ideal customer groups and their current situations. Are they working from home, serving on the front lines as essential workers, or furloughed/laid off? What are their particular needs and concerns right now? Once you understand their needs, you can assess your readiness to meet them. Consider whether you currently have the inventory to support their needs or if you should consider pivoting to better serve them.
Contact your manufacturers. Talk to them about where they stand on production and how they anticipate coronavirus impacting their business. You can’t plan for what you don’t know, so do your best to be as informed as possible about all aspects of your supply chain.
Search for alternative providers. Having a few different options to lean on as the situation evolves globally can help you mitigate risk.
Consider building your fulfillment network. For a single DC operation, if someone tests positive for COVID-19, things could be shut down for a while. The more fulfillment options within a network, the less the risk there is that the network will lose core fulfillment capacity. Plus, having multiple partners to call on during a crisis is a great advantage and helps you be ready to ship any item from nearly anywhere.
Outsource your ecommerce fulfillment. Paying only for the space you need is a plus in times of swinging demand. Maintain visibility to inventory across your network so all locations are enabled as potential inventory fulfillment points.
Visible Supply Chain Management has thousands of satisfied customers and clients that rely on our company for their various shipping and logistics needs. We’re here to help you today. Contact us at 877.728.5328 to start the conversation about how we can help your company.