Perspectives

From The Co-Founders

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Strategic insights and commentary from The ROI Co-Founders, Pat Johnson and Dick Outcalt
Outcalt & Johnson: Retail Strategists LLC; Retail Turnaround Experts


Stage II of the "Pandemic Pivot"

You managed the "Pandemic Pivot." So, now what?

A little chaotic, isn't it?

  • Have you shopped in a grocery store lately? Noticed the priority parking spaces reserved for the "professional shoppers?" Or observed those folks darting about the store, staring at their phones, often filling two grocery carts? 
     
  • Or, maybe you've attended (or plan to attend) a trade show this year. Did you find a "hybrid experience?" That is, a combination of the remote experience – Zoom sessions, special apps, etc – with some live, more traditional elements? Did exhibitors tout their online ordering capabilities? Did you keep having the feeling that something was missing? (Or wondering why you had shown up in person?)
     
  • Have you gone into a store, and encountered rows of racks of packages awaiting pickup by customers, or more likely, a delivery driver?
     
  • Or, alternatively, gone into a store to pickup an online order for yourself, and been dispatched to the far reaches of the store?

You likely have experienced some of these dilemmas from the customer side. So you know how annoying or unsatisfactory it can be. 

But you also are living that dilemma from the retailer's side. 

In the "Pandemic Pivot" that happened in 2020, retailers developed, essentially on the fly, totally new ways of doing business. 

  • Whether setting up an online shop, establishing BOPIS programs (Buy Online, Pickup In Store), providing delivery or curbside pickup, conducting "personal shopping" via FaceTime, sourcing product from online wholesalers, all of the above, plus "other," it was a time of relentless disruption and change.

And guess what? It's only just begun

The Big Questions now: What takes priority? And WHO takes priority? 

  • How can you NOT accommodate the folks who want the efficiency and conveniences they discovered during the pandemic?
     
  • Yet, at what cost to your "regular" customers, who you are trying to encourage to return to the store?

The hard truth is, you must decide. Given the variety of customers you have, there is not a "one size fits all" answer.

  • You must establish some priorities
  • And then make sure your whole organization understands not just what those priorities are, but "Why?"

And then, be ready to adjust! Who knows what Stage III of the Pandemic Pivot will look like?



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