20CENT Mood Thank you retail for being here
It grew and grew, it spread everywhere…yup Corona virus is no longer an event that triggers jokes and memes, it has become a worldwide problem that needs imminent solving.
In retail we started to feel the consequences with the trade shows, and the difficult decisions organizers had to take to postpone or even cancel their events. And on their side, shops and retailers started to feel the event of pandemic pantry caused by the rising panic. Now, that the government has imposed official restrictions, we definitely all feel it and see the impact of the virus on our daily lives as staying home is now a requirement.
Have no fear, retail is here
But this column today is not here to remind you of the impacts of the crisis, or give you advice on how to cope with it. 20/CENT Mood wants to mainly point out how retail is an essential and often underestimated part of our lives. I know what you’ll say. Obviously, I am a retail aficionado and I observe, record, report, work…basically live retail every day. Therefore, I will always find something positive about my passion. But you can’t deny it, this corona crisis shows to all of us that Retail is a strategic and essential sector of activity. Of course, the medical industry is the one who will provide care and hopefully a cure for the disease. But who else is essential? Retail, and especially food retailers. When the government issued that we should all work from home and schools would be closed, people massively rushed to their beloved retailer, and massively started hoarding. And how was the retail’s response? Simply reassuring.
To start, retailers reassured everyone that there is no shortage coming up, and that supplies are definitely sufficient. The “empty shelves” situations are only caused by people massively hoarding. The difficulty is to bring the products on the shelves to answer to the sudden peak of demand. So, what happened? Retailers stepped up the pace and work almost around the clock: ecommerce orders are going through the roof, warehouses are working at full capacity, merchandisers are doing their best to replenish the empty shelves… basically retailers are acting accordingly. (And little reminder my friends: Actually, as all experts will tell you, there is no need for this hoarding business).
Stepping up, as always
In terms of hygiene you can tell that retailers stepped it up also. Obviously, retailers already respect and follow strict hygiene policies. But as consumers got nervous, and as the virus continues to spread, extra measures have been deployed: extra cleaning of scanning devices, rubber gloves at your disposal, extra cleaning of stores…
Finally, let’s point out that efforts are not only made by food retailers. Different groups (JBC, Proximus, Decathlon, Coolblue…) announced that they decided to close their physical stores to counter the spread of the Covid-19, but their ecommerce activities will remain active. For those who wonder, it is a big deal for a retailer to close physical stores as they are part of their strategy and most importantly a massive source of income. Shutting down part of their activities and losing turnover, even when the government didn’t force them to, shows how serious retailers are in doing their part to fight the virus.
Let’s remain positive
Many has been said, and written about the Corona Virus effects on our economy and on our daily activities. And we can be sure that we are not at the end of the story yet. But it is reassuring that retailers and their workforce are taking their responsibilities and reacting according to the situation. It is now up to consumers and all of us to do the same and keep calm. Respecting the recommendations of social distancing, only consume and buy what is necessary, respect basic hygiene policies … those should just be the norm for the moment.
To conclude, I just hope that after those few lines you understand that retail is definitely a strategic and responsible sector. Remember, right now our activities are just postponed. Our lives didn’t get canceled. You can stay at home and continue to live! Besides, retail has got your back jack!
PS: In all of this I still don’t understand the toilet paper craze. If someone has a scientific explanation, I am all ears.
Your comments and questions are welcome via vincent@20CENTretail.com or via the form http://20100retail.be/en/contact20cent Mood Corona VirusOpinion Retail