DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you see as the biggest challenges facing retailers in relation to the coronavirus outbreak? What actions do you recommend retailers and suppliers take now to minimize the impact for their customers and their businesses?
Interactive Edge’s CEO, Zel Bianco comments, featured on RetailWire’s Braintrust :
For right or wrong, this will have a very negative impact on retail if this continues to spread. I was about to go out to Expo West this week which is the largest naturals/organic show in the world and the one time per year that emerging brands can meet retailers and pitch their products. Now it seems most retailers have decided not to attend, crushing the hopes and dreams for many smaller brands until next year.
Some have suggested that trade shows should now be done virtually. Most retailers have pushed back saying that they would never accept a new product for their organizations unless they meet with the people behind the product and see, feel and sometimes taste it. So unfortunately, it looks like Expo West may be a bust for many, including small brands, big brands, retailers, attendees and the organizers of Expo West. I hope most people took out insurance on their trip. I know I did!
As for retail in general, I think most consumers will shop for the necessary items and wait it out for most other shopping including visits to the mall, although traffic at many malls has been so sluggish that perhaps they may be one of the few safer places to shop.
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