more articles by

Natasha Frost

  • AUG 18, 2020

    How the strawberry dress took over the internet

    In the space of a few months, a strawberry-patterned dress has all but taken on a life of its own online. First released in 2019, it was initially moderately successful, including being worn to the Grammys by the American model Tess Holliday in January 2020. But in the past weeks, it’s become almost omnipresent in certain corners of the internet, as a meme.

  • AUG 17, 2020

    How Baileys Irish Cream became a pandemic bright spot for Diageo

    Over an exceptionally difficult quarter, Diageo reported falling revenue in most countries outside North America, with total sales down 8.4% globally. But Baileys was one small bright spot, with 7.5% in U.K. sales and 9% growth in U.S. sales this year. This was thanks to the company glomming onto social media trends and popular online searches.

  • AUG 12, 2020

    ‘Completely exhausted’: Despite sales boom, bicycle retailers are still struggling

    Bike sales are up 70% year-on-year, according to data from the NPD Group, with pandemic-wary customers eschewing public transport in favor of the open road and two wheels. But on the ground, bike shops are stretched to their absolute limit -- while profits are not as high as you might expect. For customers, the wait can be deeply frustrating.

  • AUG 11, 2020

    How Pramila Jayapal became Amazon’s biggest critic in Congress

    Pramila Jayapal, a Democratic Congress member from Washington, is not the most obvious candidate for Amazon’s adversary in Congress. But at a recent hearing, she took Jeff Bezos to task. Over the last few years, she's changed the she's dealt with the e-commerce giant as it's become more and more powerful.

  • AUG 07, 2020

    How Goldbelly is positioning itself as the future of in-home gourmet dining

    Goldbelly hit coronavirus gold. With restaurants closed, many iconic establishments have used the delivery platform to have their signature dishes shipped nationwide. But the question remains how long that will last. According to Goldbelly, it has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.

  • AUG 03, 2020

    How neighborhood Facebook groups became havens for ultra-local businesses

    Over months of lockdown, many Facebook users have turned to the social media platform to communicate with the people in the next street, or even the next house. For ultra-small local businesses, usually run by a single individual or a few partners, these same groups have become a haven to communicate with customers, advertise their services and even run the business. For the customers themselves, often unable to travel to neighborhoods further afield, they’re a useful tool to connect with recommendations in their immediate area or support local businesses they know to be struggling.

  • JUL 29, 2020

    How German superstar Aldi is trying to disrupt American grocery

    Aldi is trying to strike gold in the United States. With customers more prepared to differentiate on price by a looming recession, it’s now perfectly positioned for widespread expansion. For its competitors, meanwhile, Aldi’s ascendance could mean a race to the bottom when it comes to prices -- as well as more private label products crowding out named brand stalwarts.

  • JUL 28, 2020

    To see the future of post-coronavirus retail, look to China and Hong Kong

    With the US.. still very much in the clutches of the pandemic, it’s hard to imagine what a return to normal could look like, let alone an entirely new normal. But retailers in China and Hong Kong, which have both been in some stage of reopening for a matter of months, have managed to tease out some kind of normalcy -- using a variety of new, old and updated tricks. All the while, they’re likely leading the way for the rest of the world. 

  • JUL 22, 2020

    Why call-to-cancel policies are an accessibility nightmare

    Customers hate call-to-cancel policies. They’re fiddly, time-consuming and inconvenient. And for people who may be Deaf or hard of hearing -- approximately 15% of the population -- they pose still more challenges. Meanwhile, some of these practices walk an extremely tenuous legal line.

  • JUL 21, 2020

    The pandemic has exacerbated differences between unionized and non-unionized retail workers

    Since the start of the pandemic, unions have helped bolster safety protocols for retail workers, given them support to push back on decisions that put them at risk, and allowed them more influence over decisions that impact them directly. But for many retail employees, it's still a long road ahead until they get contract and fairer work conditions.

  • JUL 15, 2020

    How the pandemic gave Etsy a new lease on life

    When PPP entered high demand, Etsy was well positioned. In the month of April alone, the marketplace sold about 12 million fabric face masks, to a total cost of $133 million. The core Etsy marketplace, meanwhile, grew 79% year-over-year. The question remains whether or not it can continue this growth once things begin to subside.

  • JUL 13, 2020

    While independent retailers close, dollar stores are preparing to move in

    While some retailers are facing headwinds as a result of the coronavirus, dollar stores are thriving. Much of that is thanks to the communities dollar stores target -- namely, poorer regions with less access to fresh food. Dollar stores' continued success is having an impact on these areas too, by potentially driving out other local retailers.

  • JUL 09, 2020

    ‘The proposition has changed’: How Groupon fell from grace

    Groupon used to be the darling of online retail. Now it's struggling to survive. What went wrong? It was a series of failed pivots, along with the fact that its core offering is no longer in demand. The question remains whether or not it can resurrect business.

  • JUL 06, 2020

    Digital clothing try-on services are getting better — but they’re still not perfect

    People are stuck at home, making it harder for them to try on clothes. Some services work with retailers to let customers try to visualize what the products would look like on them. But they're imperfect, at best. All the same, smaller companies already on the market are seeing jumps in merchant interest, while bigger players such as Adobe have begun investing resources into developing their own high-tech solutions.

  • JUN 30, 2020

    Why outdoor seating doesn’t make sense for some restaurants

    To help restaurants get back on their feet, a host of US states have permitted restricted reopening, making use of outdoor space. While it may be easy for some, it's impossible for others. And while such limited reopenings are a good start, they won’t suffice to keep many eateries afloat. The big problem boils down to the economics; if restaurants can only serve a small percentage of their customers, they quite simply won't be able to make ends meet.

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