As retail stores begin to reopen throughout the region, the after-effects of lost revenue and customers have only just begun to be fully recognized. For many in the retail industry, the pandemic brought a complete closure of their business operations. Without foot traffic and customer orders, many small businesses quickly found themselves in significant debt, holding mass quantities of inventory, urgently trying to liquidate at steeply discounted prices.
“We anticipated the weeks before Pesach to be our busiest season of the year, and instead we had zero customers. Nothing. We closed up after Purim and have yet to reopen.” said Heshy, a men’s clothing store owner in Brooklyn, NY.. “Before Corona hit we had discussed launching our products on an e-commerce platform but unfortunately, we never got around to it. Without the ability to transition online, we were simply squashed by Corona.”
Consumer behavior has been drastically impacted by the closure of physical retail locations. Businesses are now anticipating that these consumer changes will continue into the future. The Business Insider reported on June 10th that the major real estate firm, Cushman & Wakefield, projects that thousands of retail stores will close their doors by the end of 2020.
Diveka Persuad is the Head of Brand Managers at New Rain USA, working with businesses to build their brand through online shopping sites. “We’re seeing a big uptick recently with many businesses seeking our expertise in managing their products on sites like Amazon, Etsy, Walmart and others. Companies understand that without the proper online setup, they are not adequately reaching their consumers. Many people are simply not shopping in physical stores anymore. More and more companies are recognizing the need for a stronger e-commerce presence and are relying on managers to sell their products successfully on the platforms where the consumer shops today.”
A recent survey conducted by Salesforce showed that 68% of US consumers expect to continue making their purchases of essential goods online. When polled recently in their consumer behavior study, Salesforce saw an increase in the amount of consumers who indicated that they are doing more of their shopping online.
Darren, another business owner from Tenafly, NJ reflects back on the last three months noting, “I would absolutely build out our products on e-commerce platforms. If we want to be a viable business in the future we are going to have to have the ability to sell online. Corona taught us that lesson but the truth is we saw the shift to online shopping already happening before that.”