COVID-19 Begins to Impact Retailers' E-Commerce Operations
Retail organizations began taking necessary steps in the last couple of weeks to protect their employees and customers from the growing spread of the coronavirus by closing their brick-and-mortar stores. Now certain retailers are taking the further step of closing their e-commerce sites as states' stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders are preventing them from fulfilling online orders. For example, L Brands, parent company of Victoria's Secret, announced that it has paused e-commerce orders for that brand through March 29. Reformation announced it’s closing its Los Angeles factory and distribution center, as a result of California’s “Safer at Home” mandate. Any online orders will not be shipped until distribution centers reopen, the fashion retailer's statement said. And New York-based Marysia announced its online store will be closed indefinitely.
Total Retail's Take: While many were trumpeting e-commerce as the potential solution as retailers were forced to close their stores, they weren't thinking of the warehouses and distribution centers that employ thousands to fulfill those online orders. It will be interesting to see how many more retailers announce that they're closing their e-commerce site to prevent employees from having to be present to fulfill those orders. I think we've only seen the beginning of such closures, especially as more states enforce stay-at-home orders.