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Perspective + Technology + Business

Five lessons from the COVID-19 emergency

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Andrew Gorecki

May 18, 2020

Retail Directions provides enterprise and store-level software for specialty retailers.

The organisation works with many global retailers in 40 countries, some operating over 1,000 stores.

Many retailers have been impacted by the coronavirus, some quite severely.

We have learned a few interesting lessons working in partnership with our clients through this difficult period – definitely worth sharing with the retail industry at large.

Five lessons we have learnt from the COVID-19 emergency

1. Like most retailers, our clients have experienced a massive uplift in eCommerce orders. This has put stress on fulfilment facilities, in some cases forcing orders to be redirected to warehouses in other countries. The clients have been incredibly pleased that Retail Directions’ software scaled up nicely to handle the vastly increased volumes, and that they were able to redirect orders, to prevent the logistical overload.

2. A few of our clients use cloud-based POS in some of their markets. The upsurge in the Internet usage due to the coronavirus-related restrictions, caused by work from home and online entertainment, resulted in slow processing of customer transactions and network timeouts. This has confirmed that this type of vulnerability of cloud-based POS solutions can directly affect the in-store customer experience. Retail Directions has always put forward a view that the ERP component of the retail enterprise platform can benefit from the Cloud, but store systems must rely on an Edge Computing architecture. COVID-19 emergency has proven them right.

3. The general, global upsurge in customer orders has overloaded delivery companies, resulting in considerable shipping delays. Organisations such as Australia Post have ramped up their resources, but even this has not been adequate. The overload has stress-tested the general infrastructure and the lesson is that the eCommerce portion of retail will need to scale back to a more balanced level once physical stores reopen.

4. Some of our clients have been forced to review and rearrange their businesses and processes. The organisation has worked closely with them, to support their new methods of operation, in a truly agile way. Not every vendor was able to be so flexible.

5. Despite the need to preserve cash during the COVID-19 emergency, many of our clients have continued and expanded their strategic IT projects to substantially boost their efficiencies once their businesses go back to the full-scale operation. The period of business disruption has caused them to place a greater focus on operational improvements, and they will undoubtably be the ones to emerge stronger from the current crisis.

Retail Directions is here to support retailers

Like other retailers, our clients would have preferred not to go through the coronavirus pain, but one thing has become obvious to them in the process: We have been there to support them; it is a trusted partner and the technology it provides transcends what is needed to run business-as-usual.

Contact us to learn more

If you currently rely on another technology vendor and your experience during the coronavirus emergency has been disappointing, this might be a great time to talk to the our team.

If you would like to learn more about how we are helping some of the world’s most successful specialty retailers, then please contact us on info@retaildirections.com.

You will hear back from us very quickly.

 

(As seen in Retail Directions Weekly 18 May 2020)

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About the author

Whether it is retail, technology, current events or entrepreneurship – Andrew Gorecki brings an unconventional approach to the subject matter. He provides a compelling alternative narrative, challenging mainstream views, and is sought out by industry insiders for his strategic advice and insights. Andrew co-founded the retail software company Retail Directions in 1994, and was a non-executive director of Reece Ltd and its subsidiary companies between 2008 and 2017. His latest book, Gearing Up for Success covers the critically important secrets of success that our schools choose not to teach.

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