Now more than ever, retailers need to stay on top of what is selling in their stores on a daily basis and be able to identify buying trends during the COVID-19 crisis.  What have traditionally been top sellers in their stores in the past may not be top sellers today.  To ensure stores are stocked with the right products and product assortments, they need to keep an eye on the sales data and ensure they are reordering as soon as possible to ensure their vendors deliver on time and are not out of stock to protect their sales and profits.

Besides the toilet paper, cleaning supplies, milk, and bread being in hot demand, consumers are also stocking up in other categories.  For example, shelf-stable coconut water is seeing incremental profits amid the outbreak. Vita Coco is experiencing sales increases of more than 100%[1]. Other products that may be at the top of the list include bottled water, instant ramen noodles or similar, and any packaged food items with long shelf life that are easy to prepare.

Now is the time to take a look at your edible grocery shelves and reconsider what may sell in your stores.  Retailers with shelf staple products may want to up their inventories now to meet an increase in demand and be prepared should manufacturers experience shortages down the road.

CSP reported that during the first week of quarantines, store sales were alternately flat or up as much as 5%, depending on the part of the country and type of market, according to interviews with a dozen c-store executives at chains across the country[2].  With traffic remaining flat, it is much more vital to ensure you have the products that are now in demand.

Basically, what used to be a top seller may no longer be the case in today’s environment.  Category Managers and Store Managers need to keep tight communications to ensure they are stocking the products consumers need and vendors are delivering the products.

As far as food service goes, retailers may want to consider curbside service for orders to-go during the crisis.  Of course, this all depends on whether resources are available to staff such a program.  If retailers have a loyalty program, they can utilize social media to drive additional business to the store by announcing new initiatives.


[1] CSP Daily News:

[2] CSP Daily News: