So much of what we thought we knew about demand – that thing that drives the actions of our customers – was upended. We all stopped shopping in stores and stepped up online ordering. We saw shortages of staples like paper products, cleaning supplies and essentials for baking; one retailer of craft supplies told me how it had to scour the globe for elastic as everyone dusted off their sewing machines and made masks. BOPIS and curbside-pickup became things, as did micro-fulfillment.
Now that we’re seeing what looks as if it will turn into a pretty dramatic recovery, organizations are grappling with how to turn the spigots back on to meet improved demand – a new problem – and how to get enough people to staff their facilities – an old problem.