Nationwide Marketing Group has released the results of its second quick-turn survey of the membership and how it is responding to the spread of COVID-19. In this follow-up survey, 633 respondents — a 37% increase over the first survey — provided feedback on a number of inquiries into how their business is navigating the crisis and steps they are taking to keep employees and customers safe, among other topics.
Among the key findings from the latest member survey:
- 97% of responding dealers say they have increased cleaning and hygiene efforts in-store as a primary operational modification (up from 95% in the previous survey); 89% have implemented social distancing procedures in their stores
- 42% have reduced store hours, up from 12% in the first survey
- 38% say they have reduced staff size through layoffs, furloughs, or terminations since the outset of the COVID-19 situation; of those who reduced staff size, 74% said they plan to rehire all staff when the outbreak subsides, 62% have assisted impacted team members in the process of filing for unemployment and 49% stay in regular contact with impacted employees to provide updates and possible assistance until they are able to rehire
- 13% report voluntarily closing their stores with no government order in place to do so — up from 5% in the previous survey; another 8% said they plan to do so soon
While responding dealers have drastically altered their in-store operations, the survey results show that they are actively evolving their digital strategies in order to continue serving their customers and communities. Of dealers who responded to the survey, 36% report having made enhancements to their websites, including adding ecommerce, integrating chat functionality and more.
According to responding dealers, the COVID-19 situation is also presenting a clear opportunity for at least one product category: freezers. Just shy of 90% of responding dealers cited freezers as their hottest product category over the past two weeks. Other notable appliances mentioned included laundry sets (17%) and refrigerators (14%).
Of the retailers who participated, 48% reported that they are in areas impacted by a shelter-in-place or stay-at-home order. Nationwide Marketing Group is actively monitoring and reaching out to state legislators in those impacted areas, advocating on behalf of independent retail members to ensure that their businesses are classified as “essential” so they may remain open during this time. Additionally, customizable template waivers are available for independent appliance, consumer electronics and furniture and bedding dealers who wish to contact their local legislators to seek “essential business” classification.