In a recent InternetRetailing webinar, How to survive and thrive amid disruption, we heard from Richard Stewart, director, sales B2B, at BluJay and David Schofield, solutions consultant at BluJay about ways of building agility into retail operations and adjusting to new consumer buying patterns in the new normal.
• Richard Stewart and David Schofield started by introducing themselves and BluJay, global software company that specialises in SaaS applications in supply chain and logistics for industries including retail. In the UK, the B2B team focuses on helping businesses connect to and trade with suppliers.
The effect of panic buying
- Panic: UK can supply itself very easily - but “panic is probably more contagious than the virus itself”.
- Hoarding: obviously creates gaps that supply chains find tough to plug.
- Sales fall in others areas, such as shoes and rise in unlikely areas: March/April: an outdoor leisure company sold more than 3,000 table tennis tables in a fortnight. Psychology of fear helps people part with money for most unusual things.
- Demand probably now starting to fall again for fashion and garments.
- Retailers and supply chains need to change fast - and permanently.
Pressure on supply chains
- Spike in online shopping: pressure on supply chains.
- Next day now more like next week as everything slows down.
- Need to rethink warehousing operations: from fixing and maintaining machinery to impact on staff mental health.
What are BluJay customers doing in response?
- Where can are migrating services away from warehouses to dropshipping., spreading volume over larger number of suppliers. Supply chain that helps retailers cope with demand and seize market share from competitors.
- Direct dispatch/drop shipping: how does it work?
- Traditional fulfilment model: how it’s worked for years
- Dropshipping model: how it works and how you’ve probably already used it
- Has come into its own in last decade.
How does direct dispatch work?
• Retailers can build out offering so supplies goods for a full project rather than one item, for example.
• Good to test new suppliers at low risk.
• “Successful retailers market items that clearly sell in season”
- With examples: David Schofield on how customers are switching their focus into new categories. One customer has seen 100% more orders, sent via suppliers. “Can rapidly turn on the product from new or existing suppliers and offer extended choice today.”
- Need to be able to see how many are on sale.
- Showing stock levels leads to fast sales through fear of missing out
- David Schofield: example of higher sales of paint: “Supplier had immediate access to the stock so the retailer could carry on selling.”
- Being able to supply the goods that shoppers want is the key to surviving: liquidity is what’s needed
Speed to market
- If you can force what’s around the corner - and many big retailers have expensive forecasting tools - can switch quickly.
- Catalogue descriptions already ready to go with existing suppliers.
- With examples. David Schofield on how one home and fitness supplier added children’s football nets to its range and were suddenly selling thousands.
Reduce overheads and dormant stock
- If you don’t have to buy stock don’t have it in your warehouse, free up space.
- Also don’t have to discount to sell out.
- David Schofield on the risk of having to discount to get rid of dormant stock.
Exceed customer expectations
- Customers can make informed choices, boost basket size etc.
- How retailers can improve their customer retention and brand trust while maintaining service, delivery and return options.
Building future supply chain resilience
- Using stores to dropship.
- Appears business as usual - while not profiteering or taking advantage.
- How retailers are going about switching performance model.
- De-risking the supply chain.
The webinar ended with a Q&A session. To see the webinar in full, including the slides, speakers and Q&A session, view the BluJay webinar here. To explore InternetRetailing’s previous webinars, click here.