As part of our 'Spotlight on...' series, we caught up with Kelly Molloy, Pantry Buyer at Harrods, to hear how they've been adapting to consumer trends, keeping their customers and staff safe and how they've been looking after their communities.
What measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of your team while they are at work?
Harrods has been great throughout the whole process. Importantly, there are very regular updates and communications, wellbeing checks, team catch ups – even an app! We were lucky that we have been well set up for remote working already, and it is encouraged now for those that can to continue working from home. In store, as well as in the warehouse and other sites, safety is paramount – distancing, cleaning, separate teams rather than mixing where possible, communication and clarity of procedures.
Many consumer trends have emerged out of lockdown. What would you say has been the most prominent consumer demand from your business? (e.g. health & wellbeing products)
There is still a high spending customer – people who desire a treat. Fresh foods in particular have been doing well in the Food Halls as people are eating in more. Then there is the rise of impulse buys. Not surprisingly, wellbeing is also key at the moment, with sales on products such as manuka honeys exceeding expectations.
Consumer confidence is starting to increase but with a high demand for safety and hygiene measures in place. How are you delivering these expectations?
We have a customer feedback system that we pay a lot of attention to and use it to monitor and action ways to make their experience better. They appreciate clarity of rules and expectations, so clear signage and staff on hand to help, wipes and antibacterial gels readily available, screens on counters and tills and covers on self-service counters such as bakery.
How important is community to your business? Are you expecting to implement any new initiatives to help drive community engagement post-lockdown?
Hugely! As a company we focus on our staff as a community itself and encourage charity work, have an individual charity that we support through fundraising, look to support others locally and have a ‘we are one’ attitude. The start of the Coronavirus has only emphasised the need to support the local community even more, and we donate food daily to a number of local charities. The feedback we have received from this is hugely satisfying!
Are there any suppliers, individuals, or organisations which you feel have gone above and beyond to help your business during and post-lockdown?
I am amazed at people’s resilience in general through all of this. It has been tough on businesses as well as individuals. Communication has been key, and this is also where relationships come in to play – checking in on each other. My suppliers have been great at keeping me updated, making accommodations in working practices and order volumes etc. They have mostly been able to keep production running with limited capacity – and are gradually increasing again. There’s been a lot of positivity amongst all of this, even though it’s been so challenging.
For more support and advice surrounding one of the most important resources in food & drink, people, visit our 'Spotlight on... People' page.