Nursery Today is here to help and aiming to connect the industry amid the Coronavirus and COVID-19 outbreak. Today in our online special supplier interviews, we questioned BabyBjorn’s Head of PR, Annika Sander-Lofmark, to find out their business strategy moving forward through these difficult times.
How are you all? How’s your team’s morale?
We are OK! We are very focused on the well-being and morale of all our staff around the world and all of our teams are showing great care and compassion in these challenging times. The situation today differs a lot between the countries we operate in.
How are you coping with staffing levels – ensuring staff are okay and that you’re abiding by government regulations? Do you have back-up plans?
We are following the government regulations and recommendations for each country which means that many of course are working from home and if they are going into the office, social distancing is required. The warehouse and its staff in Sweden who have many deliveries to handle have strict regulations when it comes to keeping distances and sanitary routines, but the operation is running as usual and we are able meet customers needs.
Are you a company where some staff can comfortably work remotely?
Most of the office staff can work comfortably from home and we have guidelines about how to work successfully and how to keep happy and healthy. Daily online-meetings are important so that everyone feels connected. Like in the UK many employees working from home now also have to combine this with caring for their children so flexibility is the key.
How clear have you found government regulations so far?
The Health Authorities issue the regulations and recommendations in Sweden and the message is clear. Everybody who can should work from home. Sweden is not in a lockdown so the schools are open as well as cafes and restaurants but operating under strict regulations when it comes to social distancing and sanitary requirements.
Do you feel the government is offering enough support?
The Swedish government has launched a number of support programmes to companies with furlough guarantees. They are also offering loans to private companies, and sick leave allowance has been extended.
What business strategies do you have in place to assist the continual smooth running of your business?
It is more important than ever that we at BabyBjorn understand our custumers’ and consumers’ situation in order to support them in the best possible way. Now is the time for creative and innovative solutions. Logistically we need to be agile and change plans accordingly, thanks to long term relationships with our suppliers we have a close dialogue to ensure the supply chain is affected as little as possible. The budgets and forecasts have been adjusted to better reflect the next coming months.
Do you have any helpful advice or additional support you are offering your retailers?
We are talking to our retailers and making sure that they know we care about them in this difficult time and opening dialogue for conversations about sales solutions, strategically all our focus has shifted towards online retail.
Do you have any additional information or imagery of new ranges you could circulate to retailers to put onto their own websites should their bricks and mortar store have to close?
We are offering retailers more visual content that shows comfy, happy babies in the home, with updated images and videos to help them continue to trade online and help communicate solutions to parents. We are also working with retailers social media teams to have a collaborated approach to influencer marketing and sharing contacts and ideas.
Have you currently got good stock levels to meet supply demand and the logistics in place to aim for smooth delivery?
Prior to the outbreak in Europe we had already increased production and stock levels. Our factories are currently operating more or less as normal.
Do you feel that you may have any stock issues on the horizon and, if so, how will you seek to overcome these?
Currently we do not expect any disruptions or delays in deliveries.
What’s your online presence and social media set-up like? Do you plan on boosting this presence in the weeks to come?
Our online presence is strong and crucial both through our website and social media. As everybody else we see that consumers are shopping online more than ever. Through our channels we communicate directly with the end consumers and create messages that supports them. We want to simplify life for parents and today we feel that we have greater responsibility than ever in pursuing this vision. If our products can help parents when life is challenging we have to do everything we can to provide them.
How will you continue to drive awareness to your product ranges?
By listening closely to the consumers we can adjust campaigns and offers to meet their needs. Naturally, our campaigns now focus on daily life at home with a little baby, something that can be challenging and full of worry under normal circumstances.