As COVID-19 resurges in the U.S., preparing for the upcoming holiday season becomes more complex. Retailers, like other sectors, are facing labor shortages and limited inventory capacity.
“Every time there is a resurgence of COVID, it not only impacts the consumer, but it limits the capacity of a company to serve or to produce products, and we all are seeing it in the supply chain blockages we’ve seen last year.”
Because consumer behavior is changing in response to the evolving pandemic conditions, retailers don’t have a choice but to adopt an omnichannel approach to serve consumers and adapt to changing supplier conditions.
Retailers will also lean into omnichannel options such as buy online, pickup in store or curbside pickup. Retailers may also equip their in-store staffers and shoppers with mobile technology to help find inventory on the floor and review information about the products available. Retailers like 7-Eleven, Crate and Barrel, Kmart and Sears have previously tried out this strategy to improve the in-store shopping experience or provide useful store insights for staffers.
Though retailers have increasingly used an omnichannel approach during the pandemic, these options are expected to stay, and some retailers will even integrate technology tools to bring customers using these omnichannel options back to their stores in the future. Other retailers, however, may continue to make fast shipping their top priority.
“If the perception is that you’re slow, your brand gets affected as somebody that can’t change in accordance with the time … And it might reduce sales.