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Inside Retail & Panasonic

The new challenges of last mile in the time of Covid

It’s not an easy time to be a food retailer these days, whether you’re a big or small business. Between managing supply chain issues to dealing with delivery delays and changing consumer shopping patterns, there is a whole host of new challenges that food retailers in particular must face due to Covid. 

Changing consumer behaviour

It’s clear now that online retail has skyrocketed since the pandemic. As people are unsure about going out in public, contactless delivery and click-and-collect in particular have also risen in popularity. 

“For food retailers, click-and-collect can mitigate the impact of in-store fears. It benefits grocers by offsetting revenue lost as a result of lower customer throughput due to social distancing measures in stores and constrained home delivery capacity without additional operation cost to meet current demand,” said  Vinney Kumar, general manager at Hussmann A Panasonic Company.

Meanwhile, contactless delivery is a safe way for customers to receive products without leaving home, although for retailers, it does present logistical challenges given the high demand for the service right now.

Double the supply chain issues

Food retailers are also struggling with two sides of supply chain challenges, both inbound and outbound. At the peak of the pandemic, retailers had trouble keeping up with customer demand and stockpiling behaviour. But at the same time, due to the rise in online orders, many food retailers have been struggling to keep up with customer demand and deliver perishable items in a safe and timely manner.

Awareness of food safety

As a result of the pandemic, customers also have a heightened awareness of food safety and are more health conscious than before. 

“Customers want their food to go all the way from the farm to the table and feel safe. People are hesitant about buying meat and frozen products. You can’t put a refrigerated product on the doorstep. Who will pick it up within an hour? And will the dog eat it while it’s there?” explained Richard Hsu, senior vice president of R&D at Panasonic. 

The smart way 

Most major retailers are struggling to keep up with customer demand and working with us on Panasonic’s Smart Lockers. They are an easy – and affordable – turnkey solution to help food retailers of all sizes to deliver orders to customers safely. Each locker has four temperature ranges – freezer, chiller, ambient and warm – which also comply with government regulations.

For consumers, Smart Lockers offers the holy grail of avoiding the risks of a physical store, without the long wait for home delivery. Not only do the lockers help to reduce delivery costs, they can be placed anywhere there is a power outlet, from a local gas station to a corner store for both indoor and outdoor. You don’t even need an e-commerce platform to use Panasonic’s Smart Lockers. All you need to do is to plug and play, and you can also seamlessly upgrade to Cloud version when needed!

For more information, visit:  http://www.lastmile-hub.com/ or contact:

Digital applications manager Goh Ail, aik.goh@hussmann.com 

Mobile +61 498 88 0849.