The retail industry is as diverse as it is lucrative, so it’s somewhat surprising that the impact of COVID-19 has rocked nearly all facets of retail so swiftly and consistently. Brick-and-mortar locations have struggled with the rapid downturn in foot traffic and widespread closures. On the other hand, ecommerce brands have had to evolve operations rapidly to handle the surge in customer demand. Retail brands will have to future-proof their businesses via new experimentation and personalization to meet the demands of modern customers.
It’s during these times that retailers must ask themselves a fundamental question: what do they have to lose? With the demise of names like Century 21 to Lord & Taylor and J. Crew, retail bankruptcies large and small are only going to continue as the pandemic drags on. As we’ve noted, the tendency in April right on through the recent back-to-school season has been for retailers to resort to excessive discounts across the board to drive demand and sales. Unfortunately, it’s still a short-sighted strategy that will erode margins and dilute personalization innovations that could be the key to pulling retailers from the brink.
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