With the coronavirus now affecting retailers worldwide, we look at how the retail world has reacted to the virus, including new trends, policies, and initiatives companies are taking to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The Swedish fashion retailer has announced it will be sourcing masks, gowns, and gloves for health workers fighting the virus in hospitals across Europe. It plans to use its extensive supply network to gather much needed protective equipment for hospital staff – free of charge. This comes as welcome news as many countries have started to run low on equipment to help fight the growing pandemic. The company has said it will begin with the EU countries that need the equipment most and continue from there.
The footwear brand known for its sustainable trainers has said it will be offering a free pair of shoes to any NHS workers on the ‘front line’. The company has set up an online form where nurses, doctors, and other hospital staff can apply for a free pair. The company has said it aims to give thanks for “what the incredible NHS is doing for the country” with this gesture. Sophia Webster is making a similar pledge, donating 200 pairs of ‘FlyBy’ runners to the NHS to be used by frontline hospital workers.
In response to the high demand for Hand Sanitizer due to the COVID-19 outbreak, luxury retail group LVMH has announced it has transformed three of its perfume factories into spaces that can be used to produce hand sanitizer. The group has said that the gels will be given to the French authorities without charge, giving a rapid boost to the levels of much-needed hand sanitizer in French hospitals. The quick turnover came just 72 hours after the French Government sent out a plea to businesses to help with the supply of key medical supplies as the virus continued to escalate.
The UK eTailer will be donating 100% of profits made from a new collection to a charity called ‘Age UK’, which aims to give aid & support to the elderly during the coronavirus crisis. More recently it has added to this pledge, by announcing it will also be donating 10% of their total ‘In The Style’ sales to the same charity.
Womenswear brand Three Graces has agreed to donate the entirety of their net profits for two weeks to support the homelessness charity ‘Crisis’. From the period spanning the 18th of March till the 1st of April, all net profits will be donated to help the charity support homeless people during the coronavirus situation.
In a bid to help small and medium-sized businesses stay afloat during the pandemic, Facebook has announced it will offer cash grants to up to 30,000 SME’s in 30 different countries. The company has said it will divide US$100 Million between the businesses it chooses to sponsor, with the aim of helping them maintain workforces, pay rent, and more. They have also planned further schemes to help struggling businesses, including a business resource hub, and virtual training classes. Perhaps the most important of these extra schemes is free Facebook ad credits for the 30,000 chosen businesses, which can help them drive online revenue as well as brand messaging.
In light of brick and mortar stores being ordered to shut in many countries due to the coronavirus, grocery apps have seen record levels of smartphone downloads. Instacart has seen a 218% increases in average daily downloads compared to the previous month, while Walmart grocery has seen a jump of 160%. While most supermarkets remain open, the threat of catching the virus has forced shoppers to turn to online means of shopping when it comes to their weekly grocery list. Despite this, take-away delivery apps like Uber Eats and Doordash have actually seen a decline in downloads, likely due to the virus.