The retail landscape has changed dramatically since the very first COVID-19 outbreaks. Online sales grew nearly 50% at their peak, with much of that activity taking place in one particular sector: grocery. Just this past June, online grocery sales in the U.S. reached $7.2 billion — that’s quite the jump from August 2019’s $1.2 billion.

Rather than years or months, grocers had just weeks (if not days) to adapt to the new, competitive pressures of the e-commerce space. In-store pickup, curbside pickup, and delivery certainly helped supermarkets offer an e-grocery option, but convenience alone isn’t a long-term strategy. Grocers must think of other ways to gain and maintain market share, and many have come to realize the role that frontline management plays in reaching this objective.

In short, middle managers’ understanding and empowerment are essential to helping organizations become more agile food retailers.

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