Modeling tools can help c-stores gauge their business now and in a post-coronavirus future. ~Courtesy of NACS Daily Magazine

Impact 21’s Liza Salaria shares her insights with NACS Daily Magazine.

Convenience retailers across the country are all hands-on deck in support of store operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The focus is on taking additional safety measures—sanitizing stores, limiting self-service and adjusting store flow/queues—to reduce risk and ensure social distancing. All while trying to maintain inventory during a time of atypical demand. Some slow-moving categories are spiking, while others have slumped. Ordering models have certainly been thrown out of whack.

At the same time, consumers are scrambling to find a new array of necessities to manage life 24 hours within their homes while being mindful of the risks of the pandemic. Supply constraints and financial considerations are forcing consumers to shop different retailers in different ways and purchase substitute products. Some of this behavior will become permanent. Store pickup and delivery will become more prominent as will brand shifting.

These new consumer experiences will reshape our purchasing behavior, requiring the retail industry to sift through this sea of change in order to prepare their stores for the future that lies ahead. And even though shelter-in-place restrictions seem to be lasting a lifetime, these new retail experiences and consumer expectations are right around the corner.

With that as a backdrop, retailers are modeling these changes to be better positioned as the pandemic eases. To provide some support, MarketDial has created a free business impact projection tool to help retailers model the effect COVID-19 is having on their businesses. The tool creates a base-case prediction by using the retailer’s previous two years of sales data, in addition to providing the retailer “input predictions” on how COVID-19 may impact sales volumes by category, store and over time.

“So far several convenience-store chains have used this projection tool to not only realize COVID-19’s effects to date but also project them going forward, giving c-stores the ability to make data-driven decisions. We hope this tool can be valuable to the community at large,” said Morgan Davis, MarketDial’s CEO.

By having a tool that provides prediction modeling for the effects of COVID-19, along with a history of its actual effects, retailers can rely on data to help make decisions as they make adjustments to align with changing consumer behavior.

Liza Salaria is senior principal consultant, Impact 21. NACS and Impact 21 partner to deliver the NACS Certified Convenience Category Manager Course and NACS Certified Convenience Advanced Category Management Curriculum for NACS members. Click here to register or learn more about the basic CCMC course for managers, and click here to register or learn more about the advanced CCACM course.

Liza Salaria

Liza Salaria

Principal Consultant

Liza brings innovative leadership to Impact 21, inspiring teams to think differently and push the boundaries of traditional industry norms. She taps into her expertise in small format merchandising, marketing, branding, and business strategy to help companies realize their business objectives.

Read more about Liza here.