Ways the Pandemic is Still Impacting Retail Industry
The COVID-19 pandemic seems even further in the past as we start a new year, with the retail industry steadily beginning to resemble the pre-pandemic 2019. However, there are still a few important ways the pandemic continues to affect the industry.
- Hybrid workplace. Research shows that the hybrid workplace is the norm now in America. This is directly affecting where Americans go to shop and when.
- E-commerce lift. Having gotten used to the convenient and flexible options offered by digital platforms, consumers want to be able to interact with brick-and-mortar stores in new ways. Consumers want the ability to search, filter and find products in the store similar to how they do online.
- Inventory problems. In an attempt to avoid out-of-stock issues that were so prevalent during the peak of COVID-19 due to supply chain shortages, many retailers ordered an abundance in years to follow, resulting in excess supply. Many retailers are now or will utilize AI to create a leaner supply that doesn’t fail customers or create waste.
- BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick Up-In Store) endures. Curbside and in-store pickup options for online orders were crucial for retailers during the peak of the pandemic, and those services are here to stay.
- Self-check out may be out. While the self-check out trend soared during the pandemic, so did the rates of which retailers encountered inventory shrinkage and theft. And while some of the bigger retailers have found expensive ways to combat this, many are finding that the shrinkage associated with fewer employees outweighs the value of reducing labor costs.
“Rarely in recent history has there been a tsunami-like event that has altered norms to the degree that the pandemic has,” Retail Speak founder Sanford Stein said. “The shadow it cast over retail will not likely be lifted soon, if ever.”
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