ALEXANDRIA, Va.—On this week’s episode of Convenience Matters, “Changes in Customer Behavior During the Pandemic,” NACS hosts Jeff Lenard, vice president of strategic industry initiatives, and Donovan Woods, director of operations for the Fuels Institute, discuss with Jose Luis-Gomes, president North America for dunnhumby, the opportunity retailers have even in this time of uncertainty.
Luis-Gomes pointed out that the United States, as of late March, had entered the first phase of the coronavirus pandemic—a period of insecurity. “This is where grocery or convenience retailers are seeing a rush on customer demand,” as customers try to make sense of what’s happening,” he said. “The next phase is the transition phase, where everyone in society says ‘the worst is behind us,’” and people slowly return to “normal.”
For retailers, this time represents a “tremendous opportunity to reclaim their role in their communities as givers of sustenance, nutrition, support and convenience,” Luis-Gomes said. “This is an opportunity that shouldn’t be wasted. There are a number of examples of retailers prioritizing the community and talking about their role in the community, similar to the way they do in natural disasters.”
What’s different this time is that “we’re seeing the admiration that people are giving to the folks on the frontline,” Luis-Gomes said. “Retailers who are leaning in to serve the community will find themselves in good stead coming on the other side of this.”
Overall, Luis-Gomes cautioned retailers to be responsive and communicative, with a focus on serving and securing people. “This means informing people of when you’ll be there and how you’ll serve them,” he said. “The other piece is how you’ll keep your associates and customers safe and healthy.”
Each week a new Convenience Matters episode is released. With more than 200 episodes to choose from, the podcast can be heard on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play and other podcast apps and YouTube and at www.conveniencematters.com. Episodes have been downloaded more than 130,000 times by listeners around the world.
NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.