From our Partners at the Accessories Council:
Operating in a Crisis: Advice from the Front Lines
Chief Operating/Information Officer
Dynamic Distribution Services, Inc.
Update on Vendor Shipping: Virtually every major and multi channel retailer has halted their receipts from vendors. (there are currently a few exceptions as; Dillard’s, Von Maur, Hautelook, Stitch Fix, Amazon and the Dot Com retailers are still accepting goods). That said, this is a fluid situation and changes are being made on a daily basis. Reported by Retail Systems News, Amazon, confirmed to the Seattle Sun Times that “ a systems impact” was limiting the company’s ability to deliver grocery orders from Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market. Amazon communicated via an email to marketers that “We are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, stock, and deliver these products to customers. “ For products other than these, we have temporarily disabled shipment creation” the email said. “ We are taking a similar approach with retail vendors.”
Most Vendor and Retail shipping executives are working remotely and it’s likely that this will be in place for at least the next month. Once the supply chains start up again, Andrew feels it will take a minimum of 2 weeks before things start moving again.
Lynette Harrison Brubaker
The LHB Group
These are unprecedented times for sure. We’re being bombarded with bad news. Our daily routines have been disrupted as stores and businesses are temporarily closing. Brands and business owners are left wondering how do you continue communicating with customers digitally and socially without sounding insensitive and frivolous?
Here’s a few tips and tricks that might be helpful:
- BE Present: More than ever right now, customers are looking for reminders of small comforts that are part of their regular routines. If your brand is one that reminds your customers of fun, happiness and simple joys, then you’re exactly who they need to hear from so don’t hide under a rock. Just be mindful of the frequency and tone of your messages. Be sure the messages convey to customers that “we’re all in this together.” This is not the time for the hard sell. And perhaps slow down your frequency of emails and ads – go for quality vs. quantity.
- BE Empathetic: Every communication right now should acknowledge the uncertain times we’re living in. In your words, your photos and even the products your choose to feature, find a way to connect with your customers authentically. Using light-hearted humor always breaks the ice. Or right now, maybe opt to showcase products that have particular meaning to you and tell your customers a personal story about why it’s so special to you. During this time when we are all craving more personal connection, it’s an ideal time to open your heart and tell your customers what inspires you.
- BE a Real Resource: In the last week, I have seen brands and service providers step up and become excellent sources of information and comfort for their clients. For example, a NJ-based executive search firm sent out their “5 Top Tips for Working at Home.” A local baker in my town started sending out a daily “do-at-home” recipe and every Friday, is hosting a live cooking class via Facebook Live. And just yesterday, Paige Novack, a NY-based jewelry designer who often works with healing crystals and chakra balancing, sent out an email entitled “10 Tips to Keep Us Grounded and Connected.” It was a wonderful list of podcasts, documentaries and audiobooks that she personally has found comforting during troubled times. Right now, we are all searching for trusted information — if you’re an expert in something, share your expertise and establish yourself as a trusted source on the topics you know best.
- Be YOURSELF: In all your interactions with customers, it’s more important than ever for brands to be authentic and true to themselves. Tell your personal stories. Stick to what you know and be empathetic and honest. Customers always remember how you made them feel — especially during tough times — so leave them feeling warm and fuzzy. They will thank you for that later.
SHORT TERM IDEAS
David H. Sorblum, CPA, CGMA | President
Business Consultants & Accountants
David’s firm mainly works in Real Estate and with Retailers. He suggests that for short term relief you can reach out to your landlords for:
- Extensions on rent payments
- Reduction in Rent
David also reminded us that there is lots of information and links available, but in many cases, the systems to support are not yet in place. He expects that many of these options will be better defined and up/running in the next 2 weeks.
Director of Product
As the COVID-19 public health emergency continues, we hope you and your loved ones are safe and well. Our thoughts also are with the most vulnerable people in our society, whose challenges are accelerating. While we are able to work online and via phone, our 700 community partners across the country serve people who continue to face the daily hurdles of poverty or disaster. We want to update you on the role Delivering Good serves to help people in need during these uncertain times.
For 35 years Delivering Good has been providing relief to people impacted by disasters as well as everyday poverty. COVID-19 is a new form of disaster with both immediate and far reaching consequences. And while it looks different than a hurricane, earthquake, wild fire or flood, this disaster will need our support. Delivering Good is prepared to help alleviate the hardship of our nation’s most vulnerable individuals and families.
The pandemic’s economic impact will likely be broad and long-lasting. We know that there is much uncertainty, both among our supporters and the populations we serve. Our strength depends on working together; the more we can give to those most in need, the faster we will all recover and grow stronger again.
Towards these efforts, Delivering Good is collecting cash donations that will support product distributions now and in the coming months. For every $10 donated to Delivering Good, $100 of new merchandise can be distributed to families in need. Please click on this link if you can make a donation for this effort. (link to https://app.etapestry.com/hosted/DeliveringGood/OnlineDonation.html?pageType=CreditCard)
Regarding product donations from manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, we are available to discuss how you can assist this effort with excess merchandise, but we also respect the rapidly changing business climate that you are facing. We want you to know we are ready to mobilize, have agency needs identified and are prepared to support communities. Your challenges are our mission, too. When you are ready, we will be ready.
Find more information on the Accessories Council Here.