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Breaking free from the spell of "Amazon-azement"
MARK BUNNEY | June 26, 2019
Our collaborative spirit leaves little room for bureaucracy and cumbersome rules. Instead we keep it simple, take accountability, solve problems and ultimately do the right thing. We believe in each other.
Article | March 30, 2020
Retailers are continuing to lay off and furlough workers due to the coronavirus uncertainty. Macy's announced this morning that the majority of employees for the Macy’s, Bloomingdales, and Bluemercury brands will go on furlough beginning this week. U.S. clothing rental firm Rent the Runway also said on Saturday it had laid off retail employees following temporary store closures amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. “Like many businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Rent the Runway has had to make some difficult decisions in the short term to thrive in the long term, which include temporary store closures and retail role eliminations,” a company spokeswoman said in an emailed statement to Reuters. Last week, Everlane laid off and furloughed more than 200 workers, including retail and those operating back-end functions, as it struggles to cope with the shutdown of its retail business over measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
The coronavirus outbreak has been particularly lethal for the retail sector. The industry has been dealing with a variety of problems from store shutdowns to declines in tourism to a drop in demand for products considered non-essential. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF has fallen 25% this month, compared with a 14% decline for the S&P 500 Index. Before answering that question, we should take a look at the status of the current pandemic and its impact on the economy. Cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, have reached more than 600,000 worldwide. The U.S. now has the largest number of confirmed cases in the world, surpassing China and Italy. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, U.S. jobless claims surged to more than 3 million for the week ending March 21 a new record due to disruption from the outbreak, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Brick-and-mortar retailers have embodied this concept since the inception of physical stores. The saying is taking on a different meaning for retailers seeking to reimagine the concept of physical stores. No-inventory stores, like Bonobos, are exchanging storefronts filled with large amounts of costly inventory for showrooms stocked with personal stylists, cafés or office space. The concept of the store as a showroom benefits retailers, their customers and their workers. The combination of decreased square footage, lower rents and freed-up cash typically tied up in massive inventories creates new opportunities for all to enjoy. Consolidating most inventory in a few central locations, rather than scattering it across all stores, will increase margin and inventory turns significantly.
In this previous blog, we set out how self-service kiosks represented a new vision for customer-centric POS in the hospitality trade, building on the work done by QSR pioneers such as McDonalds and Nando’s. Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for how the future of POS in the restaurant sector will evolve. Different operators with different priorities will want to get different things from point of sale, not least because customers will also have varying demands and expectations. The beauty of modern technology is that it can provide the agility to meet a diverse range of needs. POS systems are no longer all about having tills at fixed points on the premises, they can operate in many different ways at once. Digitisation has unshackled POS, allowing restaurateurs to focus on shaping the optimum customer experience, with choice and flexibility at its heart.
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