With the Covid-19 outbreak continuing to gain momentum, there is a realization among everyone that disruption will continue for many months. For businesses, there have rarely been tougher times – stock markets are down, there may be a potential recession on the horizon and retailers have closed their physical doors.
As millions of consumers are now in quarantine, their increasing reliance on delivery and eCommerce services is beginning to take its toll. Retailers are having to prioritise the health of their employees and consumers while balancing the rising demand on infrastructure and delivery services.
Below are a few of the trends that Metapack is witnessing and working with retailers and partners to resolve.
Unsustainable demand for grocery, health and medical deliveries
As the increasing demand on essential items continues to rise daily and with no signs of slowing down, retailers need to ensure they have efficient access to their warehouses in order to meet this demand. Warehouse and supply chain agility is of paramount importance and any break in the supply chain will have severe consequences.
For retailers with large distribution centres in higher risk regions, the ability to access to their stocks and get goods will be severely restricted. They need to be agile and have a network in place to efficiently divert and shift their stock between regions so they can get essential items to consumers quickly and safely.
Given the rising pressure on carrier services, retailers with critical dependencies on individual carrier services are at a greater risk of suffering from major disruption (click here for our Home Delivery Volumes and Heat Map). Retailers need to integrate to more than one carrier in order to continue operating their business as efficiently as possible. Additional carrier integrations will provide retailers with layers of protection and give them a greater chance to acess remote inventory, navigate cross-border concerns and help safeguard their delivery services.
With the reduction of Pick up/Drop off (PUDO) and Click and Collect services, there is greater emphasis being placed on delivery options that minimize social interactions – even extending to drivers signing for deliveries. Therefore, retailers should provide as many devliery options as possible to consumers in their homes. Specifically, for all non-essential items, diversification of delivery options will help carriers deal with the increasing demand on their services.
Transparency and Communication
During this uncertain time, consumers crave certainty and direction. Therefore, retailers and carriers need to be clearly communicating with their consumers and providing as much transparency into their operations as possible. Additional insights and information into business and the challenges they are overcoming will help to maintain brand loyalty and boost consumer confidence.
At this time, we can only speculate and imagine what the longer-term impact of Covid-19 on retail and delivery will be. In the shorter term, we need to ensure we are able to maintain infrastructure and deliver in order to meet the supply and demand needs of consumers in a safe, efficient and effective manner.