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With having both a bricks and mortar store as well as e-commerce, how will you be balancing those two sides of the business to weather the impact of the coronavirus?
At the moment, the demand is coming through the shop, rather than online. That is probably due to the nature of what we sell. Frankly, no one knows what is going to happen tomorrow, the day after, next week, so I am just focusing on reacting quickly to the changing situation. That means communicating clearly to my customers and my suppliers and trying our best to manage supply with demand. But that involves quite a lot of guesswork right now.
What steps are you taking to adapt?
I am being very careful with stock levels. Yes, demand is higher right now, but it might disappear tomorrow if we are forced to close or the London lockdown becomes tighter. I have halved my normal Easter orders of confectionery and made sure it is on the shelves as early as possible. But it is pointless thinking further ahead than a week at most. At the same time, I have a duty of care to my staff, my customers and my suppliers, which I am doing my best to balance.
What advice do you have in terms of balancing both a shop and online?
Be incredibly flexible and stop thinking of online and shop as two separate and distinct entities. So for example, we are looking at working with some neighbourhood apps to provide free delivery service for local customers. That entails speaking to people on the phone, taking orders and then getting on a bike and dropping groceries to people’s doors. Forget fancy e-commerce and fulfilment solutions. We are just rolling up our sleeves and serving our community the best we can.