As other types of retail businesses have temporarily closed their stores in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, grocery store workers and employees at big-box chains like Target and Walmart have found that their jobs have become more critical than ever before. Shoppers are flooding their stores looking for toilet paper, hand sanitizer and to stock up on two weeks worth of groceries. That leaves workers scrambling to fulfill order pick-ups and make sure the stocks are shelved before the stores are opened, coming in earlier than usual to unload extra trucks, and struggling to keep up with more frequent cleanings that have been ordered by corporate offices.
This week, Neighborhood Goods opened its third location in Austin, Texas. With it, the company is also offering brands a new digital dashboard to better understand store analytics. As more physical retail concepts become popular with digital brands, the ability to analyze and contextualize real-time data is increasingly becoming table stakes.
Toy stores haven't fared well over the last century. But a new crop of retailer are trying to rethink the entire category — and make it less of a toy store and more of an experience. Will it work?
ThredUp just announced a new partnership with Gap that would let customers consign their old clothes. It shows the secondhand clothing platform staking it claim as a helpful brand partner for traditional retailers looking for a refresh.
"We really thought the opportunity was to combine healthy and safe needle piercing with really accessibly priced, fun jewelry in an environment that the customer was excited to spend time in," Harman said.
Strip malls are starting to get a second look from some retailers who have historically ignored them. Last week, both Macy's and Sephora announced that they would seek to open more stores in strip malls in the coming years. Last year, supplements brand GNC announced plans to close 700 of its mall-based stores, and instead focus on its stores in strip malls, which were reporting "relatively stable" store comps.
Staples is launching Staples Connect, a concept store that will include spaces for co-working, podcast recording and events. The office supply chain said the format, which initially announced it last April, will debut in six Boston area Connect locations, and is “built around the ever-evolving needs of the retail customer.”
David's Bridal has launched a suite of online wedding planning tools, including a messaging chatbot named Zoey, aimed at helping people find and purchase their wedding looks. The idea is that a service layer will be enough to fend off competition and create a more seamless experience. Taking a page from wedding planning services like Zola, David's Bridal helping brides do save the dates, curate mood boards via Pinterest and of course embarking on finding the perfect wedding dress, all from their device.
When retailers seek to cut costs, salaried store employees can be the first ones to get the ax. Among those who do remain, many of them say that their job is becoming harder and the hours more unpredictable, according to five current or former salaried managers Modern Retail spoke with.
Where Amazon goes, other retailers follow. So as Amazon has rapidly expanded its network of Go stores, startups like Grabango and Zippin have launched to help retailers launch similar types of facilities that allow customers to walk in and out without having to stop at a cash register. These types of stores usually use a mix of computer vision and sensors to track which items shoppers pick up as they move throughout the store. That way, when a shopper exits, the store knows exactly which items to charge each customer for, typically through an app the customer has to download before entering.
More grocery stores are realizing they need to build out standalone programs to fulfill digital orders. There are a few choices on the market currently, but one trend called micro-fulfillment is increasingly catching companies' eyes.
Starbucks is opening a store only for online orders. It's a way for customers to not have to deal with a long line coffee drinks. It's also a growing trend for retailers, who are looking for cheaper ways to try new services and location concepts.
As legacy retailers struggle with what to do with their large store footprint, there's a growing industry of retail-as-a-service companies that are pitching them on software and services that they say will help them make better use of in-store space.
REI is extending Opt Outside. The retailer is again closing its stores and websites this Black Friday so employees can, ostensibly, go outside. This year, it’s also starting an Opt to Act program, joining a nationwide clean-up effort to collect trash, clean up their neighborhoods and tackle waste. (The company is also rethinking its own business model to use fewer plastic bags and be close to zero waste by 2020.)
While many channels factor into customer experience, email has by far the most reach. In a new guide for retail marketers, learn the best practices for using email to drive revenue, increase brand awareness and boost traffic.
A series of presentations, workshops and talks to help you navigate and survive our current crisis and the acceleration of e-commerce that has come with it.Register Now