AND THE SUPPLY CHAIN
The supply chain for online shopping has never experienced a situation like this before and the chances of another global pandemic affecting us in such a way again is unlikely. Here at Bray, we’ve had some companies having busier periods than Christmas, while sadly, some have put trading on a temporary pause.
Today, we wanted to go over the impact of COVID-19 on the supply chain, explore some of the most impacted industries and some practical advice on how to navigate this ever-changing landscape.
Increase in online shopping
As you can no doubt imagine, searches for shops selling essential items are receiving an unprecedented demand. Items are sold out as soon as they join the website. If you aren’t classed as vulnerable and manage to get a delivery slot, then you are one of the few!
Along with essential items, we have seen even the less essential but useful items from our clients such as outdoor equipment, garden furniture and a range of children’s toys have seen a huge increase in sales. We can only imagine that people are trying to make the best of a bad situation, and Bray is happy to still supply our client’s customers with products not only they enjoy, but can make use of during this heavy time.
CNBC recently quoted Paul Marsden, a consumer psychologist at the University of the Arts London saying: “Panic buying can be understood as playing to our three fundamental psychology needs.” These needs are autonomy (or the need to feel in control of your actions), relatedness (the need to feel that we are doing something to benefit our families), and competence (the need to feel like smart shoppers making the correct choice).
These psychological factors fall into the same spot as ‘’retail therapy’’ does. It is simply a response to personal crisis – a pandemic will only add extra layers. (*)
Take stock: what do you need?
Now is time to take stock. What do you have a lot or a little of? What are people buying and where do you need to focus your efforts on?
It may also be time to consider reducing your stock, especially if you sell a wide range of products, to a core range.
Research by HIM shows that customers are exploring alternative channels and stores as they move from brand-focused search terms to product-specific search terms in the hopes of finding products at reasonable prices. HIM also found that 28% of customers had noticed price increases and recommended offering products at stable prices.
With Wuhan only being released from lockdown after 76 days, it is looking likely that we will also be in a longer lockdown period than perhaps we would like. This means that people are in this for the long run, and may consider buying in bulk or spending more in certain categories such as the previously mentioned home fitness, garden and DIY sectors.
It’s also important to adjust your current sustainability plans to last 3, 6 and 18 months. Some industry and economic commentators have predicted that this could significantly impact the UK industry for at least 18 months.
Be reactive and prioritise
In order for the supply chain to react effectively, prioritisation is key. Staggering orders, capping order value, or linking multiple orders from the same address is just a few things we can all do to allow our supply chain to cope and provide the best service possible.
Online shopping is increasing massively, especially as we hit the peak. More than ever, it’s essential to communicate with customers and suppliers to help all aspects of the chain to know your strategy.
Social media and other marketing channels have never been more important. The concept of service notifications in email marketing is especially prevalent right now. You are allowed to email customers, even if they have not opted in to receive marketing messages, with information that is in the greater public interest, or imperative to the running of your business.
How Bray can help
As a 3PL company, we can help you to scale up your supply chain and can offer flexible solutions., We’re well placed to provide local storage, as well as pick and pack, managing the entire supply chain for you.
Our system is top of the range and one of the latest out there, and our team is following the government guidelines on health and safety. You can read our full COVID-19 statement here.
If you’re interested in scaling up your supply chain and want to work with only the best, then speak to our team today to see how we can help.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
The Supply Chain that Never Sleeps – How Bray have helped to keep Britain and their clients going during a crisis over on our warehousing blog.
As essential workers, Bray hasn’t stopped during the lockdown, in fact, we’ve been busier than ever.
Our logistics team handles all of the core communications channels through our business, making sure the progress of each individual order is updated on our systems correctly.