The state of COVID-19 for Retail
COVID-19 is an unprecedented public health emergency that is rapidly transforming the way we all live our lives. It is also mandating significant changes to retail and commerce. In this dynamic time of humanitarian and social uncertainty, what we buy, how we buy, and when and where we buy is undergoing a seismic shift.
Retailers are serving their communities on the frontline, where the health and safety of customers, employees, and partners remains paramount. Retailers must put responsibility at the heart of their operations and act now to address the far-reaching implications of COVID-19 on their businesses.
How retailers can respond—now
Retail’s distributed workforce leaves the industry vulnerable to employee safety concerns and workforce management challenges. The most immediate hurdles? Dealing with changes to operating norms in physical stores and supply chains, as well as the sudden migration of corporate employees to remote working.
The first step in response is for retail leaders to ensure the health and safety of frontline, store employees, as they deal with the general public. Embedding resilience in supply chains is critical step number two. Disruption to supply chains as a result of COVID-19 is sending shock waves through the industry and the impact is already severe. The third is to enable an elastic digital workplace that supports and protects employees in corporate headquarters, but also minimizes business disruption.
In the short term, activating a business continuity strategy will depend on one question: in this time of crisis, do customers consider your products and services a “need to have” or a “nice to have”?