As the coronavirus outbreak drags on and more Americans do their shopping online, there's been a greater focus on the working conditions in warehouses, and whether or not companies are doing enough to protect their workers from contacting the coronavirus. Some Amazon workers at a fulfillment center in Staten Island yesterday staged a walkout, stating that they thought that Amazon should close the facility for two weeks as at least one worker there has tested positive for the coronavirus.
DTC brands and platforms are passing on revenue from e-commerce as losses from physical sales losses mount. Examples include luxury watch platform Hodinkee, sustainable container brand Corkcicle and clothing rental service Wardrobe, which are using their existing e-commerce backends to help the store locations they sell their products in. This month watch-focused platform Hodinkee opened up its e-commerce platform to allow physical retailers it normally promotes, but are currently shut down for business, as well as watch brands it carries.
Before the coronavirus outbreak, Blue Apron was on life support. The meal kit company reported in February that it had 351,000 customers during the fourth quarter of 2019, down from more than a million at the height of its popularity, and has consistently failed to turn a profit in its nearly three years as a public company. CEO Linda Findley Kozlowski said the company was considering a menu of strategic options including a sale and raising additional capital. But in March, the company started seeing an unexpected uptick in demand, thanks to the coronavirus outbreak.
Unlike multi-million square foot warehouses, micro centers are typically located in much-smaller spaces within cities, averaging about 10,000 square feet. Examples include platforms like Fabric, which builds automated micro-fulfillment centers for retail clients, with a focus on grocery chains.
DTC brands are going back to their roots by shifting their focus back to e-commerce.
Nike took a hit to its China business during the third quarter thanks to the coronavirus outbreak there. Now, the company will look at what the outbreak, which is ramping up in the U.S., will do to its retail business, even as the company hopes that its growing DTC business and loyalty programs may mitigate the worst of the impact.
China's online retail market is worth perhaps $1.5 trillion, according to McKinsey. The livestreaming app ShopShops is making it extra accessible to stores and boutiques around the world.
People are staying home, and they are probably drinking too. Alcohol e-commerce is seeing big spikes in business, and some are being forced to delay shipments because of the added strain. These sales were already on the up and up, but this acceleration might bring booze to the e-commerce forefront.
Alex is a 22-year-old social media manager for a startup. Six months ago, while standing in a crowded No. 3 express train on the way to work, he had a panic attack. “I was staring at my phone, trying to simultaneously respond to a Slack message from my boss but also scrolling through Instagram and texting a friend when I thought I was going to die,” says Alex (who didn’t wish to use his last name because he doesn’t want to be known as “the depressed guy” at work). “I literally thought I was being crushed under what felt like a mountain of work, overwhelmed, and messages were coming at me from everywhere, and I just wanted to die.”
Most adults have probably never heard of Loren Gray. But plenty of teens know all about the TikTok celebrity with 38.4 million followers. What exactly makes a creator like Gray soar in popularity is somewhat of a mystery, but those who “understand trends and become early adopters are more likely to gain more traction,” says Ariadna Jacob, CEO of Influences.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., grocery delivery services like Instacart and Amazon Fresh have seen a huge spike in demand. But other food startups are also seeing an increase in sales, as many shoppers stock pile snacks and fresh food while they work from home for the foreseeable future.
QVC may still be a dominant player in interactive shopping, but new entrants include app providers focusing on livestreaming shopping and social media companies building out their commerce capabilities.
Nearly every restaurant and grocery is feeling the effects of the coronavirus. Most are touting their ability to take orders online and facilitate either delivery or pick-up. Analysts for years have said that both will hit the mainstream — the global pandemic may be the accelerant that begins it.
For years, IKEAs differentiator has been its store experience. The Swedish-founded furniture company relied on its maze-like layout, food court and low prices to get shoppers to stay in store longer and subsequently buy more. As the company rolled out digital features, many of them were aimed at supplementing the in-store experience, like an app designed to help shoppers navigate the stores.
It seems like every retailer is relying on their e-commerce business to fuel double-digit sales growth. But there's still one group of brick-and-mortar chains that have largely resisted selling their products online: off-price retailers. Last week, Burlington Stores, Inc. announced that it would shutter its e-commerce business altogether, as it only accounted for 0.5% of its total sales. Here, Modern Retail lays out the case for and against off-price retailers investing in e-commerce.
As bot-driven fraud eats into budgets, marketers are placing a heightened focus on identifying the characteristics that account for authentic audience humanity.
Exclusively for Modern Retail+ members: Hear from Connie Matisse, Co-founder and CMO and Alex Matisse, Co-founder and CEO at East Fork Ceramics, on how to maintain brand loyalty during a time of tumult.Subscribe