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Protecting business from imminent supply issues Posted on October 18, 2021
If lockdown wasn’t hard enough for businesses, the challenges are set to continue as supply lines have been severely disrupted by overloaded distribution and logistics operators, strikes, overseas stock shortages and skyrocketing oil prices. Smart business owners are having to make major adjustments so that consumers don’t turn the blame to them when their goods are unavailable, delayed or more expensive.
Rightly or wrongly, the consumer expects the business and brand to deliver on goods and services promised, even if the delays and disruptions are caused by outside influences. There are ways you can manage consumer expectations and keep your valued consumers happy and, even better, returning.
- Focus on your most valued consumer. Don’t offer what you can’t deliver in the first place. It sounds simple, but many consumers have paid for things online only to receive notification afterwards that the item is not available. Update your online shop, menu, service description or whatever you offer, regularly. Tell them when you expect it to be available. If your consumers can’t get their hands on something they want straight away, tell them when you expect they will. Consumers are more likely to come back to you later if they know. If you don’t say anything, they will look elsewhere.
- Take responsibility for the end-to-end experience. Many big retailers have become good at this over the lockdown period with messages and updates to consumers when there is a delay: ‘Your parcel has left our warehouse but it looks like there’s a delay with our delivery supplier. We will investigate it and keep you updated with any news’. Then: ‘We see that your parcel has been delivered. We hope you enjoy it and come back again soon.’ Simple messages via text or email make the consumer feel you’re with them and have not left them in the lurch or with the responsibility of following up the delivery themselves. Equally, keep communicating with your supplier. Asking questions and politely, regularly and reasonably communicating your needs and expectations is an important way for suppliers to understand and share the pressures you’re under.
- Carefully manage your inventory levels. This is both art and science. Making sure you can deliver your product offering while not having too much stock left over is a careful balancing act that needs professional support. You should work closely with your accountant on this one.
As NSW re-opens, we approach with caution. Consult regularly with your accountant to manage business risks and opportunities, profit and cashflow. If you would like to talk to a member of our team, please email us on [email protected]