News and Notes on How the Retail Industry is Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis
Total Retail is continuing its daily coverage of the COVID-19 global pandemic, with a specific focus on how retailers and brands are responding to crisis. As many of our audience know all too well, the retail community is one of the sectors being hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. As retailers try to figure out how to navigate these uncertain times, it's helpful to look at what others are doing for inspiration and leadership. Here are some examples of brands, both retailers and service providers, that are worth calling out for their actions in this time of need:
- Yelp is announcing $25 million in relief to businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, primarily focused on supporting independent local restaurant and nightlife businesses, in the form of waived advertising fees, and free advertising, products and services. In addition, Yelp has developed a Local Economy Coronavirus Impact Report that details consumer shifts from dining in at restaurants to take-out and delivery, how various shopping and event businesses have been impacted, as well as how this impact varies across the U.S.
- In response to the continued escalation of COVID-19 globally and the unprecedented increase in home-delivery demand, Bringoz, a SaaS-based logistics platform, is offering retailers its experience, expertise and technology platform free of charge. The company helps retailers and others create and scale their in-house delivery operations.
- As retailers across the country are looking for ways to inform teams with accurate and timely information about COVID-19, including in-store protocols to keep both customers and employees safe, Retail Zipline’s new COVID-19 Hub allows HQ to deliver the most up-to-date information regarding the pandemic. Retail Zipline is offering its COVID-19 Hub free of charge for any brand that wants to use it during the pandemic.
- Summersalt, a swimwear startup, is transforming its regular customer service channels into an opportunity to provide emotional support to consumers during the COVID-19 crisis. On Tuesday, the three-year-old brand opened up a free text message hotline — which it’s calling a “Joycast” — that will allow people to reach out if they need something to lift their mood. In response, someone from Summersalt’s “customer happiness” team will send over a 10-minute meditation video, self-care ideas, or a puppy GIF.
- Walmart announced this week that its foundation has committed $25 million to support organizations responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, including $10 million to support food programs; $10 million to support efforts in local communities in the United States and international markets; and $5 million to help countries prevent, detect and manage the outbreak. In addition, Walmart plans to hire 150,000 new workers through the end of May to meet increased customer demand driven by the coronavirus outbreak. The retailer plans to provide a cash bonus to hourly workers for their “dedication to serving customers in a time of an unprecedented national health crisis.”
Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.