Professors in the Krannert School of Management discussed the changes the coronavirus pandemic may bring to the way we shop in a webinar live-streamed Monday.
In-store shopping changes
Senior Associate Dean Ananth Iyer lists additions to stores that may become standard:
Increase in online ordering and pick-up procedures
Greater reliance on automation to check inventory and to fulfill orders
Greater tracking of the chain of custody of food
Added surveillance to track social distancing
Adopting online shopping
Assistant Professor of Management Mohammad Rahman predicts the crisis will likely force most retailers to adopt e-commerce to some extent and to build trust with those who are still uneasy with shopping online for certain items, like clothes and cars.
He says one of the best ways for retailers to gain that trust is making sure the quality of online services is high.
“This whole pandemic is a forced experiment. A lot of us have been forced to do things we, otherwise, wouldn’t have tried.”
A silver lining?
With all these changes, new supply chain management jobs can be expected to increase — though they will now require a much wider skill set, Iyer claims.
“When automation comes into play, there’s no excuse for saying, ‘I’m going to sit in one building (and) take a few courses’ and expect to get a job.”
Jayson Lusk, a distinguished professor of agricultural economics, also participated in the webinar to explain some of the effects of the pandemic on farmers and meat processing plants.