Visibility is a real problem for execs across media and marketing. It’s unclear how long this crisis will last, and the feeling in the first few weeks that this would be as simple as flicking a switch back on once things go “back to normal” has largely dissipated.
The coronavirus outbreak is likely to permanently change the relationship between workers at retailers that have been deemed essential, like grocery, hardware, and big-box stores, and their employers. Each day, the list of announcements from retailers about new steps they are taking to keep employees safe in stores, as well as to thank them for their work, is growing longer. While many of the benefits issued are being billed as temporary, what's become clear in recent weeks is that as their jobs are being classified as essential, retail workers see their jobs as being more worthy than ever before of better benefits.
As no one knows exactly how much consumer spending will rebound (or not) in the coming months, retail and e-commerce businesses are being forced to reconsider every single expense. The most obvious way for companies to cut costs is to lay off or furlough employees. And many of them have already done that. But beyond that, how do you save money? Consumer investors are advising startups to think of every single expense as negotiable. Here are some of their tips on places to save money.
Spring is typically the busiest time of year for hardware stores like Lowe's and Home Depot, as customers flock to stores for deals on plants, gardening equipment and other home renovation tools. But during a pandemic, high foot traffic is problematic. In addition to grocery stores and pharmacies, most states have classified hardware stores like Lowe's and Home Depot as essential in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. An ongoing source of frustration for many hardware store employees in recent days has been how many shoppers are still coming to the store for what non-essential items.
Despite China seemingly back in action with funding, venture capitalists don't expect a quick restart for U.S. startups. “I really don't see many deals starting and completing during the quarantine."
Peak Design is a profitable premium bag company, but the coronavirus is threatening all that. As a result, the brand is implementing an unprecedented site-wide sale. It's indicative of the quick decisions companies are making in order to stay afloat in this ever-changing business environment.
As it looks increasingly likely that most non-essential retail stores will be closed for the next several weeks, retailers are being forced to take some more drastic cost-cutting measures in order to survive through the month. Within the past week, the number of retailers announcing that they are either furloughing or laying off employees have picked up. Practically speaking, there aren't that many differences between laying employees of versus furloughing them, but furloughing employees is an indication from the retailer it eventually anticipates being able to rehire furloughed employees.
As “retail apocalypse” rumors continue to fly, teenagers are reviving shopping centers’ foot traffic. Among the draws are a social experience, immediate gratification, a personal branding opportunity and a much-needed break from their mobile phones.
People are panic shopping now, but once the dust settles there may be a big change in the products people buy. For one, grocery private brands will likely see a surge. This is because consumers will likely seek out value over name brands — but also that the perception behind private branding has changed considerably over the last few years.
The coronavirus outbreak has lead workers from all kinds of industries to push for greater protections from their employers, and retail is no exception. This begs the question of how, once the coronavirus outbreak slows, which temporary changes to a retailer's paid sick leave policy or pay increases will stick. One potential outcome: that more retail workers will seek to unionize.
It's a critical week for U.S. retailers, as Friday will mark two weeks since many of them decided to temporarily shutter their stores. While most of them said that they would fully pay their store employees through the closure, they were also only initially planning on closing their stores for two to three weeks. With the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. only continuing to grow, it's likely that many of their stores will remain closed for longer than that. As such, trade groups like the National Retail Federation are more urgently pushing Congress to include relief for retail businesses in any bailout package.
When 21-year-old Hunter College student Kenneth Pabon began looking for a fashion internship during his spring 2019 semester, he took a little bit of a different approach to finding his gig. Pabon did not use Hunter College’s career advising office or scour online job boards like LinkedIn, where he does have a profile, or Indeed. Instead, he Instagram direct-messaged two of his favorite fashion influencers, Sophie and Charlotte Bickley, sisters behind the website and social media accounts Yin 2My Yang.
Retail has changed dramatically over the last few weeks. While many businesses are struggling, the ones that are able to see this crisis through will likely need to invest in new technology to be better prepared for the next crisis. Here are some of the areas that big retailers will likely focus on.
Retailers are embracing shopping rewards programs that offer bonuses beyond coupons. As brick and mortar and e-commerce retail struggle to navigate the current landscape, loyalty programs can act as a bridge to shoppers amid the Covid-19 crisis. A shift in customers’ expectations in recent years has led more retailers to adopt unique perks that reward frequent shoppers in experience-focused ways, not just discounts. Retail chains like Uniqlo, Sephora and H&M have joined the trend, along with startup direct to consumer brands like Carbon38 and Glossier.
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