Dealers share COVID-19 experience

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Dealers share COVID-19 experience

By HBSDealer Staff - 03/23/2020
The Department of Homeland Security and numerous states have declared hardware, home improvement and building supply as sectors too important to close. But the question for many in the industry remains: what are the keys to operating in this new environment of social distancing?

HBSDealer continues to report on best practices and retailer policies. We also reached out for your thoughts on four important operational questions.

Among the findings: stopping the spread of the virus in stores is the number one workforce-management concern. Also, amid calls for people to stay in their homes across the country, a full 21% said there has been an uptick in sales. (Still the majority of respondents point to either negative or neutral sales during the outbreak.)

Here are the results:

Q: COVID-19 is having a disruptive impact on retailers’ ability to fulfill customer orders and demand. What is your biggest COVID-19-related fulfillment issue?
(52.5%) “Certain products (i.e., household cleaners and paper products) are sold out/unavailable in our supply chain.”
(21.3%) "This has not been an issue for our organization."
(14.8%) "Disruption in flow of goods sourced outside the U.S."

Q: Whether voluntarily or due to state/local ordinance, many stores have either temporarily closed or been restricted to pickup/delivery operations. What is your biggest challenge in dealing with closing or limiting operations at your stores?
(42.6%) “This has not been an issue for our organization.”
(32.8%) "Maintaining personalized customer relationships and service."
(13.1%) "Supporting increased demand for store-level delivery."

Q: The coronavirus is dramatically affecting when, where and how employees work. What has been your biggest workforce management challenge?
(45%) “Preventing spread of the virus among the workforce.”
(18.3%) "Offering payment, financial support and other services to employees who are temporarily displaced from their jobs."
(18.3%) "This has not been an issue for our organization."

Q: What has been the impact of COVID-19 on your sales?
(34.4%) “There has been a negative impact.”
(32.8%) "Sales have remained neutral."
(21.3%) "There has been a significant uptick."

The survey was conducted March 19-23. More than 60 readers participated.