CEOs, Founders, Analysts & Insiders share unique insights and real-time observations on the industry’s response to Coronavirus.
Organized into 12 different areas of the fashion-retail value chain, the collection provides access to 20+ professional resources to help our community navigate current challenges.
HOW TO USE: Click on the button(s) below to locate the insights and resources for each industry segment. Navigate back to the top with the arrow on the lower right.
“We have been working closely with and listening to our customers throughout this global crisis. In doing so, we are seeing a profound shift in consumer behaviors. As a result, our customers are innovating e-commerce and in-store experiences by viewing their future with a longer lens. Our partners are showing us that rethinking innovation and recreating the in-store experience online will be a re-energizing focus to safeguard the future.” — Robin Barrett Wilson, Industry Executive Adviser of Fashion, SAP
“With many of our customers facing massive capital and expense constraints, we see this challenge being met with an acceleration of digital initiatives. At Google Cloud, we are helping retailers maintain a top-tier digital experience while quickly reducing operational overhead. Specific initiatives include: building scenarios for customers to accelerate digital initiatives, reducing infrastructure costs, accelerating migration of IT and e-commerce systems, and enhancing real-time visibility. Among the highest priorities for retail is getting more control over inventory and supply chains for which there is increased adoption of AI/ML based demand forecasting and inventory management solutions.” — Carrie Tharpe, VP Retail, Google Cloud
“Over the past few weeks, we’ve been in constant communication with our partners. From these conversations, we have consistently heard that retailers are looking at a 30-60-90 day plan of action to manage the current uncertainty. In the immediate, the focus is on pricing and inventory management (which need to factor in “corona-elasticity”). In the medium term, considerations touch on: buy forecasting, space optimization (to cater to social distancing norms) and order management (to factor in different regions opening up at different times). Any previous forecast model is now outdated and needs to be replaced with a dynamic forecasting model heavily weighting recent trends, while still factoring in seasonality and events.” — Prashant Agrawal, CEO, Impact Analytics
“In the midst of this crisis, every major brand partner of ours is re-evaluating its process of bringing new assortments to market. And defining a new assortment is truly a complex dance wherein ideas flow from creatives to commercial stakeholders. Traditionally, the industry relied on in-person collaborations and may have been hesitant to more efficient approaches. However, as the old way of doing business is unavailable, companies are pulling the future forward. They are losing their hesitancy to change and embracing a more agile and responsive approach to doing business.” — Dan Leahy, Co-Founder & CEO, Makersights
“Looking at our customer data from the past few weeks, it’s clear that brands across every industry are seeing a dramatic uptick in call volume, significantly surpassing holiday season volume. Although many brands offer channels other than voice, it is clear that during these unprecedented times customers are heading to the phones and the questions they are asking are considerably more complex. We have pulled together practical tips that brands may use while navigating increased call volumes and complexity.” — Joseph Ansanelli, CEO, Gladly
“After having a number of calls with our clients, many brands are focused on improving their digital experience to replace some of the revenue being disrupted by store closures. As we watch the trends within our platform, we are seeing sales for athleisure and loungewear shoot up while other categories linger. And as we continue to run experiments with our enterprise retail customers, many continue to see higher conversion rates where hyper-personalized search and recommendations are being presented to each consumer.” — Purva Gupta, CEO and cofounder, Lily AI
“Businesses who are agile and able to pivot quickly will be the leaders in a post-COVID world. Data from Mirakl-powered Marketplaces show that demand is up in many categories, and our retailers are tapping into their seller networks to meet this demand. One example is in health and beauty where sales grew by 2-3X in March as consumers stocked up on essentials and at-home treatments. Similarly, sales of toys, games, and books rose 8X last month fueled by consumers shopping for at-home entertainment. Online marketplaces allow businesses to quickly respond to fast-changing demand, making them more agile, more adaptive, and more cost-efficient.” — Adrien Nussenbaum, Co-Founder & U.S. CEO, Mirakl
“With the severely limited number of passenger flights operating internationally, there has been a rush to move to freight only flight operators and/or integrators. Of course, this has had knock-on effects on the availability of specific lanes and additional cost into specific countries. However, on-time deliveries in our top 30 markets are still the norm because companies like ours can ship inventory from different DCs, keep a significant majority of our lanes open while mitigating cost, and find alternatives for those that have been challenged. Much more detail on the state of the market in our weekly COVID status report.”— Ahmed Naiem, CCO, eShopWorld
“We’ve had the chance to speak with many e-commerce & operations leaders over the past few weeks. Many are experiencing some form of disruption, ranging from carrier service strains to delivery options that minimize social interactions, as well as the need for transparency and clear communication with customers. In a time when customer experience is central to brand relationships, multi-carrier integrations are critical and can minimize disruption. As an example, we helped our customer, one of the world’s largest beauty brands, swiftly route traffic away from their Italian warehouse to ensure business continuity without any disruption to their deliveries.” — Duncan Licence, VP of Global Product, Metapack
“We have seen data that shows shipping delays reliably lag behind production delays by about 30 days. If we believe suppliers can regulate production delays in about two months, as they did in China, then we can estimate that suppliers in other parts of the world will follow a similar timeline. With this in mind, our customers are mitigating risk by having full visibility into their supply chain across all tiers – a key problem we aim to solve at Anvyl.” — Rodney Manzo, Founder & CEO, Anvyl
“Recent events’ impact on online retail is complex, and the effects differ widely by industry. While we are seeing strong sales gains among our retailers in the furniture, food & beverage, and personal grooming verticals, we have seen other sectors, such as travel, recreation, and automotive, being negatively impacted. We are tracking the impact of COVID-19 on different industries with publicly-available stats on our website that are updated weekly.” — Ryan Breslow, CEO, Bolt
“With all of our clients and their customers affected by the COVID-19 emergency, we are moving quickly to help them continue to accept payments. Focusing on speed, agility and security, we are working closely with each client to understand their specific situation and need – from online sellers that are now dealing with challenges of rapidly accelerating volumes to traditional storefronts that need to quickly transition to mobile payments to sell their goods.” — Laura Miller, President, Merchant Services, JPMorgan Chase
“For younger customers, this is the first time they are going through a crisis of this magnitude. And during times of uncertainty, the majority of consumers are looking to obtain purchases without extending credit card debt, loans, and interest. We are seeing this in real-time with 85% of our users reporting that pay-over-time solutions, such as Sezzle, are playing a bigger role in their lives given this economic uncertainty. Alternative payment methods are taking off; people need a helping hand with finances right now, very clearly demonstrated by the data.” — Charlie Youakim, CEO, Sezzle (ASX:SZL)
“Temporary store closures have put demand on retailers to come up with creative and impactful ways to maintain the intimacy of in-person shopping. Interestingly, in the same way we are seeing a more common use of video conferencing, retailers are connecting directly with customers shopping from home. To enable this activity, we have seen our customers respond by offering remote pay and omnichannel live chat. We believe these new forms of interacting will play a vital role over the next few months while the retail world navigates and recovers from COVID-19.”— Ali Asaria, CEO, Tulip Retail
Consumer spending has shifted rapidly to adjust to stay-at-home guidelines —purchases that used to take place in person are now being completed online. Due to this massive shift, e-commerce sales were up 10% month-over-month for March compared to February, per anonymized data from our 1,000+ customers. Now that consumers have determined what their essentials are—like food and pet supplies—many are turning to comfort items. Verticals like home furnishings & decor, home electronics, comfortable clothing & wardrobe basics, and self-care items have seen significant increases in spending. Consumers want to destress and be comfortable as they settle into a “new normal.” — Brian Long, Co-Founder & CEO, Attentive
“Retail clients in multiple categories to whom we’ve talked have seen a significant contraction in demand over the last several weeks–some over 50%. But not a reduction in costs. That means making hard decisions around marketing, and that requires more data. The marketers we are in contact with are looking to outside data partners who can see their customers’ total spending behavior (beyond internally observed activity) to enable actionable customer file modeling for better-targeted marketing.” — Rob Reger, Chief Revenue Officer, Wiland
“For companies considering or currently seeking debt funding, these are some important realities to consider: lenders will be evaluating and re-evaluating a brand’s health based on their current customer base and their distribution channels. Are they selling product that is relevant to the consumer right now (food & beverage, toys, home essentials, small appliances etc) and do they have anyone to sell it to? 65% of retail stores in the US are currently closed and online sales are off by roughly 25%. Companies with strong, already-established DTC businesses and ones that are selling to big box stores, will have the greatest advantage even in the most challenging business environments. In addition, how to incorporate PPE (personal protective equipment) production is a question we are getting dozens of times per day. For companies that are new to this, it’s highly-regulated and there are very specific guidelines you need to follow, so we have created a ‘PPE need to know’ checklist for companies.” — Cassie Rosenthal, Executive Vice President, Rosenthal & Rosenthal
“Many of the companies we work with are facing key issues related to the shutdown most notably employment and supply chain. Additionally, navigating the assistance programs available under the CARES Act and other government stimulus programs are incredibly topical conversations among the DTC brands and technology start-ups we work with. Challenging problems, to be sure, but it is also exciting working with clients looking beyond the current crisis at ways to adapt their businesses and grow in the future.” — Chip Korn, Partner, Foley Hoag
“The consumer industry is among those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are seeing many of our clients first and foremost focused on managing cash flows, ensuring the welfare of their employees, and planning for an uncertain but eventual return to a new normal. The CARES Act is also of major significance for the clients we advise. Our payment protection program and tax compliance teams are working hard to navigate the legislation. With the situation continually evolving, our focus is on providing timely guidance and advice, which is available in the CohnReznick Coronavirus Resource Center.” — Stephen Wys, Partner, CohnReznick
“In a world of quarantines/fear, clearly staples do well, but we could also see stay-at-home-activities see a lift as parents and individuals alike seek to recreate some sense of normalcy at home. Conversely, in a world with fewer IRL hangouts, it also seems fair to suggest apparel drops down on the short-term priority list.” — Simeon Siegel, Managing Director & Senior Analyst, BMO Capital Markets