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Prior to the arrival of COVID-19, retail stores were already having to cope with the demands of a burgeoning e-commerce market. As they brace for a second wave of the pandemic — or the next disruption of any kind — retailers are seeking new ways to utilize brick-and-mortar locations to meet changing customer demands.
Following a record number of more than 9,300 store shutdowns in 2019, 2020 brought even more destruction to retail stores, hitting a new record high of closures just halfway through the year. In addition to suffering bankruptcies, many stores were forced to temporarily close their doors as the number of coronavirus cases continued to rise.
With even more consumers enjoying the safety and convenience of online shopping, and this trend likely to continue beyond the pandemic, here are a few ways that retailers are drawing on their store infrastructure to deliver on customer demand:
As the rate of disruptions continues to rise, retailers will need to find innovative ways to meet their customers’ needs and ensure business longevity. In 2021, expect to see more retailers embracing new fulfillment strategies and automation solutions that can increase speed and capacity, while also reducing costs and ultimately improving the customer experience.
Dale Harmelink is Executive Vice President of Tompkins International.
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