With a digital platform already established, co-owner and President of CBS Bahamas John Treco said being given the green light from government to proceed with its e-commerce system is crucial for the survival of the company, but so far his requests have fallen on deaf ears.
Treco said his company is one of only a handful of local companies that are fully digitized and ready to service customers online; but, like the others, it has not been given permission to implement its digital business continuity program despite the prime minister’s recent encouragement to local businesses to do so.
“We’ve got 35,000 items that we use on our web page that the customer can get online with CBS and actually view the products, pick what they want, purchase the products using a credit card and we have a delivery service set up where we can deliver the goods to you, so you don’t see anybody. We’ve set up to have pickers in the store to pick the products, pack it or bag it, whatever we need to do, and the delivery service would pick it up and bring it to you, as simple as that,” he told Guardian Business yesterday.
“We’ve been fighting this since the lockdown came about and it’s fallen on deaf ears. All we’ve been hearing is no, no.
“We understand fully the government’s view on the lockdown, we’re in total agreement with this. We don’t want people to die from this virus and this is why we think that our e-commerce system that we have in place can work. So, we are really in a tight situation. It’s important to us.”
Last week, CBS Bahamas laid off its staff after being shuttered for nearly a month as a result of the government’s 24-hour curfew and lockdown measures to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Treco said he fears worse for the company if the lockdown measures continue beyond the April 30 end date and he is not able to at least start selling products online.
“It’s extremely critical because we’ve been at the Southwest Plaza for a few years now and actually this year we really saw things turn around. Our sales picked up, we were moving along quite well and then we got hit with this devastating blow. To answer your question of how important this is, it’s very crucial to the company’s survival actually,” he said.
“We had 70-something staff that we had to let go and it’s quite distressing, it was the most upsetting part for Brent Burrows, who is my partner, and myself to have done that. But we have no means of income, we’ve got containers sitting at the dock and we can’t clear them. That’s how crucial it is to us.”
Each day that the mega hardware and home goods store remains closed, further hemorrhaging occurs, Treco added.
“It’s a big amount of money, I can tell you that there’s a fair amount of sales we’re losing. We were running probably about 500 to 600 customers a day, that came though our doors on average. And we’re not talking about our contractual department, which is a separate entity of CBS Bahamas,” he said.