After a number of companies reported their first quarter performance, we got a glimpse into how prepared some of the most prominent retail giants were for the post-coronavirus digitally accelerated world. When the pandemic first hit, the United States shut down leaving retailers relying solely on their e-commerce business. Now, we can begin to see which companies were ready for this transition.
Same-day delivery continues to see interest beyond food and alcohol, as services like Postmates and Ohi continue to see increased demand. “We’ll continue to offer Postmates going forward,” said Neighborhood Goods CEO Matt Alexander, including at the New York Chelsea Market location when it reopens.
As existing commerce companies adapt to survive a global pandemic, Jimmy Wu actually launched one. His new company Cat Person sells cat food, toys, furniture and treats in a market that Wu sees as skewed toward dog owners. On the most recent episode of the Modern Retail Podcast, Wu talked about the pet food industry, launching a company during a pandemic and the overall DTC boom.
Running a radical, mission-driven brand can be tricky. East Fork Pottery's Connie Matisse explained at this week's Modern Retail+ Talk the need to integrate values throughout business decision, and why "not everyone needs to be your customers." Consistently defining your company and what you stand for is integral in finding and retaining customers, she said.
Modern Retail spent a week looking into all the changes needed for stores around the country to reopen. Much of it involves guesswork, because no one knows what shoppers will want in the next few months. Neither do we know if the coronavirus will have a second wave. Taking this all into account, here's a rundown of all the biggest changes on the horizon.
Retail stores are slowly reopening, but The Inside founder Christiane Lemieux still thinks people will want to invest most in the place they're spending most of their time: the home. She joined the Modern Retail Podcast to discuss how she's leading her furniture brand and business lessons she's learned over the years. "What you will be doing is focusing your time and disposable spend on making your home into everything it should be," Lemieux said on the Modern Retail Podcast.
Despite social distance restrictions being loosened in California, the timeline for Grove's San Francisco office return won’t be until “sometime after Labor Day," said CEO Stuart Landesburg. With pre-planned product launches being pushed back, the strategy to resume facility operations has proven tricky. While some members of the team are able to work remotely, others who need to test and devise new products are having difficulty doing their jobs. It's a problem felt by many brands.
Dick's Sporting Goods has benefitted some from its product being in high demand. But the company also benefitted from investments it has previously made in its e-commerce business. Case in point, the company said during its first quarter earnings that online sales were up 110% during the quarter, thanks in large part to the rollout of a curbside pickup service in response to store closures.
As apparel retailers are set to re-open their stores, another question they've been grappling with over the past couple of months is exactly what new product or brand launches to move forward with. The way that retailers typically draw customers into store is with new product. But many retailers are hesitant to increase their inventory levels when they have apparel that have been sitting in their stores that they need to clear.
Virtual try-ons quickly took the place of fitting rooms, and with many brands still strategizing reopenings, the solution has quickly become a growing part of the e-commerce offerings. For brands that heavily rely on help from store associates and customer test runs to make sales and minimize return rates, such as Lululemon, Deciem and Design Within Reach, providing virtual customer support is a long game.
Off-price retailers have historically ignored e-commerce, because their shoppers have proven that they still prefer visiting a store to search through piles of inventory in order to find a good deal. However, the coronavirus crisis has highlighted the shortcomings of that approach. Nordstrom's latest earnings highlights this strategic misstep.
Williams-Sonoma recorded e-commerce comps exceeding 31%. While the numbers are big, they're not terribly surprising. The home goods company has invested in digital programs for years -- beginning as far back as 1998. Now, those bets are paying off. What's more, Williams-Sonoma invested more in new digital tools when the coronavirus first hit. Compared to other big retailers, these results show when digital investment really pays off.
Global retail markets are beginning to reopen. The question remains whether consumers are ready to go back into public. With lockdown restrictions now being eased by some governments, small green shoots of recovery are beginning to emerge. Modern Retail and Glossy reporters took a (virtual) trip around the globe to see where shopping is beginning to restart and if shoppers are ready to spend money once again in the real world.
Many retailers and companies rely on people testing out their products. But with social distancing in place and many stores closed, that gets much more difficult. For some, it may mean sampling is completely off the table. For others, it means introducing new operations and safeguards that were never thought of before.
King Arthur's flour has been flying off the shelves -- both in grocery stores and digitally. The company has seen record website traffic and its DTC sales have doubled. To deal with this influx, the centuries-old flour brand has had to quickly adapt. Modern Retail spoke with its vp of marketing about how King Arthur's digital strategy has shifted and what the future of flour sales will look like.
Advertisers, from DTCs scrapping for share in a crackling at-home beauty market to seasoned retailers leaning into the quarantined consumer’s e-commerce surge, what’s changing about your campaign KPIs? How are you using data to make choices and effectively budget across channels? What’s working, what’s broken and how will you fix it? Take this survey and get the full results plus a $5 Starbucks gift card.
At the Modern Retail Virtual Forum, we’ll bring together senior retail marketers online to discuss the challenges they’re facing and the solutions they’re seeking in the era of smarter retail.Buy Passes