COVID-19 has impacted our lives in ways many of us couldn’t have imagined. From how we interact with our friends and family to working from home and so much more. For me personally, juggling the joys of homeschooling my teenage boys with a packed work schedule has been a true personal test. Yet I know many are facing more critical concerns.
During the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to retail and consumer goods leaders from across the world about the far-reaching impact of COVID-19 and the responses they are taking to it. Faced with drastic shifts in demand, mandated store closures, evolving customer needs, and major health and safety concerns for their employees, many retailers are navigating unchartered waters. To that end, I wanted to share a great framework from McKinsey as well as a few useful Microsoft resources to help support you during these challenging times.
McKinsey stated that many retailers are taking a three-pronged approach to COVID-19:
- Navigate the here and now: Standup a crisis response or nerve center; protect employees as they are on the frontline day-in-day-out; stress customer safety and reorient the business to amplify digital; optimize inventory and strengthen supply chain.
- Plan the comeback: Build a recovery strategy through a mix of financial resilience and operational ramp; consider strategic M&A and other market opportunities including consolidation; keep a tight handle on cash.
- Shape the new normal: Assess shifts in consumer sentiment and behaviors that may stick post-crisis; put digital at the center of your relationship with consumers with virtual connections at a premium; ideate how to evolve products and services, including new business models and partners; prepare and plan for the long-term network implications for stores and or supply chain.
Useful Microsoft Resources
Helping you navigate the now:
- You can leverage this Crisis Communication App with steps to quickly build and implement an app for your organization to coordinate information-sharing and collaboration in response to evolving conditions.
- Use the Bing Coronavirus Tracker to monitor and share the latest fact-based information, statistics, and news on the current state of the virus.
- Empower your employees to provide consistent levels of personalized support, even while working remotely using omnichannel capabilities with Dynamics 365 Customer Service, available for free for 6 months.
- Support your employees, collaborate remotely, stay connected, and provide the best productivity tools in a safe and secure environment with Microsoft Teams, which is now available free for 6 months covering your enterprise.
- We have compiled expertise and guidance to optimize remote work environments from our first-hand experience over the last few weeks.
- We are also sharing the comprehensive work-from-home guide we created for our employees, which you can tailor for your own organization.
- Leverage Microsoft 365 Live Events to create live and on-demand events that deliver compelling communications to employees, customers, and partners.
Plan the comeback and shape the new normal:
- Dynamics 365 Commerce enables consumer-facing businesses to continue to transact in an environment where physical retail stores are no longer able to facilitate trade.
- Identify needs and trends to rapidly adjust to new business models through unified data and analytics with Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and Azure Synapse.
- To take control of your critical warehousing, unpredictable demand, backlogged goods, and supply chain:
- Streamline operations with Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management and rapidly build and deploy supply chain solutions with Azure IoT Central.
- Our partner, Blue Yonder’s solutions and data science capabilities provide a critical solution for companies that require real-time supply chain visibility in order to plan for and instantly adapt to changing circumstances.
If you’re curious about how we’re working with customer and partners or even thinking about COVID-19 as a company then check out the resources in responding to COVID-19 together as well as the latest update from Satya Nadella on LinkedIn.
Finally, I would like to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of the retail superheroes out there keeping our shelves stocked, groceries delivered, and so much more in incredibly challenging times—you all are AMAZING!