Sam's Club Donates $1M to Support Small Businesses, Other COVID-19 Retail News
In installment No. 3 of The Bright Side of Retail, we once again have curated a collection of positive stories related to how retailers and brands are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Total Retail seeks to inspire its audience in the midst of this crisis by reporting on the positive stories of how retailers and brands are stepping up to help their employees, customers and communities during this challenging time. Remember that despite all of the ominous headlines, there are still reasons for the retail industry to be proud. Here are some of them:
- Sam’s Club will donate $1 million to Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national nonprofit organization that provides financing to small businesses. The members-only retailer said the donation could ultimately help small businesses that buy from Sam’s Club to at least stay on their feet until the economy starts to reopen. Many businesses source food and related supplies from Sam’s Club.
- PREIT, a publicly traded real estate investment trust, has launched Shop Local pages on all of its mall websites, an effort designed to support the e-commerce platforms of the small businesses in its portfolio. Not only are the offerings highlighted to the local audience, but to the entire PREIT portfolio of consumers. Twenty-eight percent of PREITs portfolio is comprised of tenants that are local or regional.
- Google has opened up its Shopping search results to unpaid, organic listings. The Google Shopping tab results “will consist primarily of free product listings.” The move comes amid the coronavirus crisis in which many brick-and-mortar retailers have had to close their doors. An e-commerce strategy has suddenly taken on heightened importance and urgency for merchants. The crisis was the impetus for “advancing our plans to make [Google Shopping] free for merchants,” Google’s President of Commerce Bill Ready said. However, the change will be permanent and fits into Google's longer-term vision for its role in digital commerce.
- Brain Corp is donating $1.6 million worth of autonomous floor cleaning robots and services to essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the COVID-19 health crisis, autonomous mobile robots are helping support essential businesses and their workers on the front lines. Retailers are required to clean more frequently and deliver more cleaning coverage. BrainOS-powered autonomous floor scrubbers are providing more than 8,000-plus hours of daily work that otherwise would have to be done by an essential worker. Using these robots allows workers to focus on other critical tasks, such as disinfecting high-contact surfaces, re-stocking, supporting customers, or even taking a much-needed break. This program includes the rental, deployment, training and support of the BrainOS-powered cleaning robots at no charge to the retail business. The robots will be provided for a minimum of 90 days.
- Qurate Retail, a multiplatform retailer with operations in seven countries, is expanding its global relief efforts to support those who have been impacted by COVID-19 with a $29 million investment. This includes a $10 million commitment to monetary and in-kind donations by Qurate Retail’s brands (QVC, HSN, Zulily, Ballard Designs, Frontgate, Garnet Hill, Grandin Road, and Ryllace), along with donations that the brands are facilitating from customers, team members and vendors. The remaining $19 million will be in the form of COVID-19-related appreciation and emergency pay and benefits to team members.
- For the sixth year in a row, Red Nose Day is back at Walgreens. While the mission to raise money to end child poverty remains more important now than ever, the iconic Red Nose is showing up slightly different. This year, together with Red Nose Day, Walgreens is excited to present the first-ever iconic Red Nose digitally, allowing the spirit of Red Nose Day to unite people to spread joy virtually and raise awareness of the cause, even while staying home and remaining physically distant. Now through May 30, consumers can get their digital Red Nose by donating online at Walgreens.com/RedNoseDay. A donation will unlock a special Red Nose filter that can be shared on Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat.