FreshSource Shares Insights on COVID-19 Challenges and Connections
SANTA ANA, CA - As a leader in merchandising strategies, FreshSource has the inside scoop on how retailers can accept the challenges handed to them by the COVID-19 crisis and get ahead—even during times of uncertainty and market volatility. As the team at FreshSource shares, it is essential for retailers to pivot their game plans to address the new needs of today’s social distancing requirements and new consumer terrain.
Here are some of the crucial insights—straight from the mouth of FreshSource and its retailer partners—on the topics that are necessary to address in order to both pivot and evolve. The gold standard here is to anticipate the needs of the supply chain and the produce department, with an eye on the end consumer as well.
Don’t get left behind…
Retailers have been adjusting their game plan from day one, and will continue to do so for the unforeseen future. The new normal is here, and retailers need to meet the new safety demands and expectations created by the crisis with solutions, not inaction. There are still may OOS and manufacturers that cannot keep up in center store. Fresh is a great solution.
Set a pace and bar for fresh…
The produce industry and supply chain have been phenomenal at keeping fresh produce on the shelves for all customers. The produce industry has historically been faced with catastrophes like weather, crop diseases, and more. We have learned to overcome, and this has helped us handle the COVID-19 pandemic and set a standard on excellence and performance.
Packaged fresh products are impacting purchasing decisions…
Customers seem to be gravitating to packaged products. The question for merchandising will be integrated versus segregated. FreshSource is not sure if there is a right or wrong at this time, but the best in class merchandising will rise to the top, and FreshSource can help.
Finding a balance…
Some companies are simplifying the business and cutting out SKU’s to focus on the best-selling items that they can keep in stock—key word here is some. The problem is manufacturers spent years building up their variety (portfolios) to get a shelf presence in retail. It feels like a step backward for some of them, but the conversation may correct itself. However, you will never know without a bridge of communication. If you do not keep the dialogue open—both retailers and suppliers—the consumer’s buying behaviors will change before you have even caught your breath.
While there is a lot to chew on here, FreshSource and its retail partners are also sharing some of the best practices for retailers to keep their team, products, and shoppers safe.
- Plexiglas at the check stands
- No touch paying options at the check stands
- All employees and customers required to wear masks
- Designated employees constantly cleaning and sanitizing the carts, check stands, restrooms, and anything that will be touched by multiple people
- Taking temperatures and asking simple health questions to all employees
- Only allowing a certain number of customers in at one time to help with social distancing
Additionally, with the impacts of social distancing, merchandising provides that bridge between the product and the consumer in an effort to drive consumer loyalty and sales. With that idea in mind, FreshSource shared the insights and evidence that can help retailers better occupy the digital space.
- Online shopping has been a great way to avoid the physical parameters of merchandising during COVID-19 and get your brand out there
- Early adopters to curbside pickup, Instacart, and other delivery services have thrived—meaning this is another opening to create an opportunity.
- Retailers can promote their private label products online and get instant recognition. This is huge for them to build loyalty!
- Experts are saying we are heading for a recession and consumers will be looking for private label items that provide value. Again, a loyalty opportunity!
- Most retailers are thriving with sales right now. The question is who will win in the end when the sales fall off?
The big question that FreshSource is posing to its partners is: Will you adjust your game plan to accommodate the future shopping experience? Or will you get left behind?
Those companies that adjust will be the winners.