The Coronavirus Disruption: Navigating Change for Success

June 8 2020 by Alexandra Pastore for WWD

From ever-changing consumer behavior to unprecedented demand on the supply chain, COVID-19 has forced change across retail.


The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly been marked as a time of disruption across all industries with mass amounts of uncertainty leaving consumers and businesses to adapt ever-evolving reactions.

The world moved quickly into “new normals” with worry and fear driving consumer behavior. Worried for health and cleanliness, consumers opted for contactless transactions and many adopted hoarding behaviors. Shifts to e-commerce have perhaps been the most consistent across industries. As early as mid-March, surveys conducted by retail predictive analytics company First Insight found 75 percent of consumers admitting personal shopping behaviors had been impacted. Early reports found initial declines in U.S. shopping though saw great increases as consumers began shopping for items conducive to spending long periods of time at home and consumer markets who have historically shopped in-store pivoted to e-commerce.

The coronavirus outbreak also put a spotlight on supply chains, which experienced unprecedented disruption. Almost immediately, as consumers began panic-buying, demand for essentials was amplified, leaving distributors without historical sale data to inform supply decisions. In many cases, labor shortages impacted fulfillment as well. Companies like Amazon faced a surge in demand for deliveries during the crisis, but drivers and warehouse workers feared contracting the virus or struggled with care for children who had been sent home from school.

More than ever, companies needed a way to manage supply chains remotely and in many ways, the crisis served as a tipping point for digitalization. New models have emerged during the pandemic, including a “supply chain of the future” created by First Insight and Li & Fung, which uses Voice of Consumer analytics for better product and pricing decisions.

As companies continue to navigate ongoing disruption, WWD asked industry solution providers and thought leaders to share advice for times ahead.

Greg Petro, chief executive officer of First Insight

“Magnify. Accelerate. We control our own destiny. COVID-19 has shaken retail’s reality to the core. COVID-19 is not a disruption, it’s an accelerant. It has magnified and accelerated everything that is good and everything that is bad. In order to adapt and succeed in the new retail market, retailers and brands need to accept and acknowledge what’s happening in the environment, particularly with consumers. We must overcome a fundamental lack of customer understanding to succeed. We control our own destiny.

“In today’s new world there’s a brand new, constantly changing consumer, and with that comes the need for new leadership. Retail executives need to take a position and point of view around their products. Now more than ever retailers need to stop and look forward, not backward. With no reliable historical data, looking in the rearview mirror is no longer useful. There’s no way to forecast your way out of this situation. It’s time for an industry change, with actionable solutions.

[Read Greg Petro’s related Think Tank column, “Dear Retailers: Just Stop, Take a Deep Breath, and Listen,” here.]

“The key to recovery is implementing voice of customer analytics, strong data-driven product strategies, and strategic digital solutions. Understanding the ‘new’ evolving consumer as they navigate this new world requires leadership to change their behavior to understand and keep up with consumers’ constantly changing needs, wants, and points of view.”

Read the Full Article at WWD

disruptors  retail disruption  consumer behavior  supply chain  digital supply chain  digital supply chain solution  Coronavirus  COVID-19  Digital Supply Chain of the Future  Supply Chain of the Future

Looking for more info? Complete the form below.

Featured Product

InsightSuite for Small Business

Specialized Tools for Small & Emerging Businesses

The fastest and most cost effective way to increase sales, profits and sell-in for growing businesses and digitally native brands.

Learn more
Free Ebook

Maximize Value, Speed & Profit

Learn how to leverage Voice of the Customer Analytics and 3D Product Creation to make more profitable products, faster.

Get the Free E-book
Roundtable Video

Kohl's Creates Value W/Predictive Analytics

Learn How First Insight's Predictive Tools Fuel Kohl's Success

As one of the world's leading omnichannel retailers with more than 1,100 stores in 49 states, Kohl's is leveraging First Insight's predictive analytics solution and voice-of-the-customer data to improve their business.

Watch the Webinar
Webinar

Consumer Sustainability Survey 2021

The First Industry-Wide Consumer Study On Shoe Sustainability

This industry-wide survey aims to create a critical baseline that brands and retailers can use to ensure they understand what consumers actually comprehend, what terms and phrases resonate best, and what areas they should prioritize.

Download the Webinar & Findings
Supply Chain & Pricing

Navigating Disruption

How The Rockport Company is Optimizing Assortments and Pricing with Data + Digital Product Testing

Learn how The Rockport Company created a new product playbook powered by the Voice of the Customer and predictive tools.

View the Webinar & Highlights

HIGHEST DEMONSTRATED ROI. GUARANTEED.

Unparalleled Value Delivery and Lowest Total Cost Provider


Our industry-leading platform takes your experience management operations from reactive to proactive. We empower you to create products, brands, and customer and employee engagement that deliver growth to both your top and bottom lines.