CSA Exclusive: COVID-19 reveals fulfillment, workforce, store challenges

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CSA Exclusive: COVID-19 reveals fulfillment, workforce, store challenges

By Dan Berthiaume - 03/23/2020

A Chain Store Age survey reveals how COVID-19 is disrupting retail workflows including sales, customer experience, supply chain and workforce management. 

The online survey, conducted online via the Chain Store Age site from March 19-22, asked readers four questions about what impact, if any, the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is having on their enterprise. Here are the results. [Editor’s note: Due to rounding, responses to some questions may not total 100%.]

• The biggest COVID-19-related fulfillment issue, cited by 31% of respondents, was that certain products (i.e., household cleaners and paper products) are sold out/unavailable in the company’s supply chain.
 
Other issues were inability to keep store shelves stocked due to intense customer demand (25% of respondents); disruption in flow of goods sourced outside the U.S. (15%); and inability to keep up with surge of online orders (6%).  

Twenty-three percent of respondents said this has not been an issue for their organization.

• With the coronavirus dramatically affecting when, where and how employees work, the biggest workforce management challenges are offering payment, financial support and other services to employees who are temporarily displaced from their jobs (27% of respondents) and preventing spread of the virus among the workforce (27%). 

Other major challenges: creating an infrastructure to support a surge in remote workers (14% of respondents) and finding extra staff to support increased demand in certain areas of the enterprise, such as transportation/distribution (8%).

Twenty-four percent of respondents said this has not been an issue for their organization.

• As the impact of Covid-19 on sales, 39% of respondents said there has been a negative impact, while 38% cited a positive impact, with 20% saying it has had a “significant uptick” and 18% calling it a “goldmine.” Eighteen percent of respondents were unsure as to the impact at this time.

• In coping with limited store operations, maintaining personalized customer relationships and service emerged as the biggest challenge, cited by (31%) of respondents. 

Other major challenges: supporting increased demand for store-level delivery (14% of respondents); creating in-store or curbside pickup zones that meet CDC guidelines (14%) and maintaining corporate branding (6% of respondents).

Thirty-five percent of respondents said limited store hours have not been an issue for their organization. 

• With the coronavirus dramatically affecting when, where and how employees work, preventing spread of the virus among the workforce, a major challenge is offering payment, financial support and other services to employees who are temporarily displaced from their jobs (27%) and preventing spread of the virus among the workforce (27%).

Other major challenges: creating an infrastructure to support a surge in remote workers (14%) and finding extra staff to support increased demand in certain areas of the enterprise, such as transportation/distribution (8%).

Twenty-four percent said this has not been an issue for their organization.