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.
Businesses big and small are feeling the impact of the coronavirus. But mid-tier retailers, especially those saddled with a lot of debt, are in an especially precarious situation. Many of these brands have been trying to rejuvenate business for years with mixed success. The coronavirus may prove to be their death knell.
Some investors have speculated that the coronavirus could lead to a rise in sales for e-commerce startups, as more people shop online instead of visiting stores. But, that doesn't mean that these startups are completely in the clear. Direct-to-consumer startups, in their never-ending quest to acquire customers more cheaply, have been moving to open more stores in recent years. Others also rely on in-person events to reach new potential new customers.
Melanie Kahn, founder of Illinois-based beverage brand Poppilu Antioxidant Lemonade, was relying on the annual Natural Products Expo West event to help move her business forward in a number of ways. She was hoping to meet with potential investors during the event, which was supposed to be held between March 3 and 7 and get her company in front of new retailers. Plus, she had a new product to promote, for kids.
For the past couple of years, Bath & Body Works has been the one bright spot of L Brands, reporting positive comparable sales growth while Victoria's Secret has been reporting declining sales. Soon, the mall-based lotion and candle retailer will get a chance to stand on its own.
Seventy-three percent of shoppers now use multiple channels to research and shop before making a purchase. And 90 percent expect consistent interactions across all of those channels.
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