USA. “Inflation and logistics challenges put increased pressure on retailers to manage costs”
Amanda Lai, Consulting Senior Manager / Food Retail Practice Leader, McMillanDoolittle in Chicago
USA. As we enter a third year of Covid-19, two of the biggest challenges for U.S. retailers to address are the following :adapting to the increasingly complex, omnichannel customer journey on the front end, and effectively managing increasing costs on the back end. The pandemic-driven shift to e-commerce sent retailers scrambling to implement BOPIS (Buy Online Purchase In Store) and curbside pickup capabilities at the store-level, and launch partnerships with fulfillment and last mile logistic providers such as Instacart and DoorDash for delivery. Social platforms have also become increasingly transactional, with retailers partnering with platforms such as TikTok to offer shoppable live content.
Fast forward to today and we see the newest iterations of these pandemic trends continue to take shape. The advent of the metaverse has given retailers a new, expansive platform with which to reach customers and advertise new digital products. New delivery platforms will put pressure on traditional fulfillment partners with the rise of “quick commerce” options offering 15-minute delivery. On the back end, retailers face continued staff pressure driven by wage competition among employers and a short-staffed workforce driven by employees calling in sick and those who have left as part of the “Great Resignation” trend. Supply chain constraints and rising inflation are forecast to continue into 2022, placing additional pressure on retailers to manage costs.
The pandemic continues to be a catalyst for evolving the increasingly digitised customer experience and driving retailers to become more efficient.