Supply chain issues are still a thorn in retailers' and consumers' sides, but there are signs that the pain is easing — even if ever so slightly. There is the anecdotal evidence we see for ourselves each time we step inside a store, and retailers participating in the 2023 Convenience Store News Foodservice Study indicated as much (you will have to wait for our May issue for more on this).
Until the day when operations return fully to the pre-pandemic normal, however, there are some routes convenience store retailers can pursue to clear the remaining hurdles. Mainly, they need to adapt, which they have done to some extent or another. They have switched suppliers, adjusted their product offering, and tightened up inventory and ordering processes in-store.
But efforts should not end there. As an executive at Upshop told CSNews recently, with the right technology in place, operators can more easily find product substitutions and quickly communicate those substitutions to the stores. In doing so, retailers also have access to data and analytics to support merchandising decisions.
If the past three years have taught us anything, it is to be flexible. The industry has become great at zigging when it was used to zagging. I know the uncertainty and stress of the pandemic is moving behind us, but why stop zigging now? Keep your eye out for hurdles and consider how technology can help.