Wholesalers and retailers are continuing to adapt to the changing face of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Unitas Retail Director John Kinney.
In an interview for TWC’s new Sound Bites YouTube channel, Kinney says the buying group has witnessed businesses having to be flexible in attempt to keep up with buying behaviour during the outbreak.
As the initial panic buying has slowed, new trends are starting to form and Kinney says the entire supply chain is keeping a close eye on how best to serve communities.
“We’ve moved into the next phase where retailers have got into a system of purchase and what range is available to them,” says Kinney.
“We’re now managing how we trade in the current norm, if there is such a thing. We’ve seen the retail guys pick up a lot of business, but not through all retail.
“Obviously, walk-in trade of impulse has been severely impacted. If you’re going to that store once every couple of days or ordering online, you’re probably buying a six-pack of crisps or £1 multipack of chocolate rather than individual bars. We’ve seen a mixture of what is selling.”
Other spikes Unitas have noticed include in the beer, wine and spirits category, while others, such as fresh food and chilled, are suffering with supply.
But while keeping tabs on those peaks and troughs is important, some retailers are still placing a big focus on maintaining the supply of key products.
Kinney points to data as playing an even larger role in making stocking decisions in the absence of face-to-face contact.
“Data is now really helpful for them to see the trends they can see and what’s going in the market. It gives them that national view of what’s going on,” Kinney adds.
“So while this gives them more time – they’re at home and not on the road – they are analysing data to see where this is going, which has been a positive.
“Data is coming into its own – when you don’t have that member’s business in front of you to talk to, data helps you understand.”
Watch the full interview on TWC’s Sound Bites channel, which includes chats with a host of industry figures.