As we reach the end of what has been a tumultuous year, I wonder if I might ask you if you are able to answer any or all of the following questions with your views for use in an article I am preparing for publication in the imminent issue of Direct Commerce magazine.
The deadline for receipt is end of play Monday 23rd November. If you wish to submit comments but retain anonymity that is fine but obviously will be far more credible if it can be attributed. I have included sample responses from one source so as to give a flavour of how others will be responding…..
Succinct responses appreciated to any of the following questions ……
In your opinion
1: What measures has your business successfully implemented in order to adapt to the changing guidance as we cope with the pandemic?
Sample response; “We were able to implement home working and after some initial blips, we are now seriously considering whether we can shift some of the roles in our business over to a permanent blend of home & office working. We also found we were able to recruit new team members from a wider catchment area by offering home working options.”
2: How have the pandemic and the national/regional lockdowns affected your business? (We are acutely aware that whilst many have thrived throughout the pandemic period, others who have fared less well). Where does your business sit?
“Our business has traded above forecast for the past nine months. Demand sharply increased for some of our categories during the first lockdown and has continued strongly. It was a period of dormant customer reactivation, increased order values and appreciation from our customers that we were able to support them.”
3: How have you managed team social distancing in the functions of your business which could not be transferred to home working scenarios? What measures were you able to take to assure employees that their safety was key?
“The most testing department was warehousing & order fulfilment. We applied social distancing measures and chose to run two shifts, seven days a week, so that the staff numbers enabled safe working. Some staff opted to take the second shift as it meant they could take on their share of homeschooling/child support. Office staff volunteered to work at weekends to meet demand. Our customers were very understanding throughout.”
4: Overall, where do you believe that the greatest damage has been caused to retailing as a whole?
“Consumer confidence is at an all-time low due to the uncertainties of the job market and ongoing disruption caused by lockdowns and special measures. Small independent local retailers gained during lockdown with many offering home deliveries but the supermarkets most have most definitely taken share from niche retailers. High streets and town centres will take years to recover.”
5: Do you expect that there will be further job losses across the overall retailing sector after peak trading results are in?
“It seems inevitable as so very many national chains are pushing through CVAs or are up for sale. Most are pruning out underperforming stores and making redundancies. Some, very clearly, have little chance of returning to profitability. There also some which have been in a ‘terminal’ state for years which are using Covid-19 as an excuse for the mess they are in.”
6: What have been the positives for your business during this year?
“We have actually increased sales & profitability. Aside from that, we have been able to support local charities as well as build a stronger team spirit throughout our business.”
7: What do you forecast for the next 12 months – for the sector overall – and for your business specifically?
“We’re targeting growth, considering acquisitions, taking on more people, and will focus on developing our offering. We will be benefiting from all of the hard work of our team members and supplier partners have invested over this (past) trying year and finding more ways to delight our customers. We appreciate that others are not in such a good place and will also be working within the DCA to support members that need help.”
Please send your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you very much indeed for your support. If you would like to discuss before responding then please email – email@example.com
If you would also be interested in taking part in a remote DCA ‘meeting’ to share these collective findings then please let us know.
Editor – Direct Commerce Magazine