This Blog has been UPDATED since initial publication. We know you don’t need a reminder of what’s going on in the world, but we want and need to address a very important and relevant issue that is continuing to affect many retailers, especially small retailers, and consumers as a result of the covid-19 outbreak. During the beginning months of covid-19 outbreak, many retailers, manufacturers, factories and warehouses around the world faced multi-month long shutdowns, significant staff layoffs and face many new health regulations. As a result, once retailers, manufacturers, factories and warehouses reopened, consumer demand spiked. What happens when consumer demand spikes and manufacturers are months behind in developing products is significant backorders and delays in producing products which then causes delays in consumers receiving products.
This ripple affect has hit the appliance industry particularly hard. Most appliances and appliance parts are manufactured, to some extent, overseas. When these manufacturers are behind due to shut-downs and limited staff, supply diminishes faster and shipping appliances takes much longer.
We know that it’s hard to live without refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines so we as a retailer work as hard as we can to ensure we can get appliances to our customers as quickly as possible during this unprecedented supply shortage, that continues to occur. This is not an easy task and we know many of our customers have felt frustration as a result.
We have tips below on how to help you navigate buying appliances during these strange times, so you can better prepare yourself. We’re used to a world of instantaneous purchasing, but now, things are starting to look very different.
Researching various brands before purchasing is important as many manufacturers have information on their websites these days about their supply. Understand what the brand you’re looking for is dealing with at this time; what their lead times are for ordering, or any delays and try to be realistic in your expectations of when you may receive your appliances based on this information. You can also speak to our Pros about this information, they would be happy to provide you insight into which brands are facing delays.
It’s also important to know that there is a disconnect currently with supply and marketing from manufacturers. There are still manufacturer promotions and deals being advertised however, it’s important to know that this doesn’t always mean there is supply of what’s being promoted. Manufacturers still want to drive interest and make great offers when consumers purchase, even if that means their product won’t come in until much later.
Be Feature Specific
With supply being as low as it is, instead of focusing on only one brand, instead focus on what features draw you towards that brand in the first place. Is it the steam clean option? Or the pre-programmed recipes, or that the fridge has customizable air control? The reason it’s important to focus on features when shopping right now is because your dream brand may not be available but there are other brands which may have similar features that are available if you don’t have time to wait. It allow for flexibility when shopping, which is what is necessary right now.
Inquire about Stock Levels
Contact your local appliance store and ask about inventory levels, backorders and wait times when you start looking. Understand the timelines they give you are not a means to frustrate you but an honest response to manufacturer delays. It’s important to have honest and realistic expectations of wait times for appliances right now.
Make a List of Alternatives
If you’re doing your research to replace your broken dishwasher make a list of alternatives. Have a first, second and third choice option so if one is not available you can easily flip to another.
Measure and Check
Now more than ever before it’s so important to know the exact measurements of what you’re replacing or purchasing. Think about it – you order at 36” fridge, wait 8 weeks and have it delivered only to find out your space only accommodates 33” – you have to wait another 8 weeks to get the right one. We can’t stress this enough – measure, check and measure again before buying.
Plan Ahead (where possible)
If you’re not scrambling to replace a broken washing machine but know you may need to our you’re renovating your home and will need appliances six months from now – start shopping. Do your research, know what you need and want and place your order as early as possible. This will help lower your stress levels and likely ensure that your appliances will arrive exactly when you need them and not three months after your new kitchen is completed.
Lower Inventory on Cheaper Products
Though the industry luckily has not experienced significant price increases, be aware that lower priced appliances are selling much faster than higher end. Try and determine your budget and work with some flexibility where possible either on what you’re able to spend or on your timeline for needing the appliance.
Understand Buying Online
Understand that for many small retailers, buying online doesn’t mean instantaneous results. Our supply, for example, comes from the same place our in-store inventory comes from so ordering online won’t make your appliance come faster than if you went in-store.
We know it’s a difficult time for everyone and understand that appliances are a necessary part of everyone’s lives – especially since so many of us are confined to our homes much more than usual. We always recommend planning ahead as much as possible for new appliances and be realistic when purchasing from any retailer at this point, as so many of us, like you, are adjusting to the new way of the world.
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Published by Stephen - Your Tasco Pro on Wednesday, July 22nd