March 2020 marked a tough month for many retail categories, as nearly $100 billion in US retail spend disappeared.
In April, Forrester predicts retail sales will likely hit historic lows for several industries in the US including:
- Apparel retails will see a 79% decrease, or $17 billion dollars less revenue, versus April 2019.
- Restaurants will see a 76% decrease, or $49 billion dollars less revenue, versus April 2019.
- Car dealers will see a 91% decrease, or $81 billion dollars less revenue, versus April 2019.
Retailers deemed “essential businesses” like grocers, superstores, and pharmacies had strong sales in March and will continue to do so in April. At the same time though many of the large national chains are struggling, especially those with heavy mall or urban penetration.
Some best practices for retailers to consider during this time include:
- Rethinking omnichannel and adopting curbside, contactless pickup to protect customers and employees.
- Keeping customers in the loop with frequent updates on operating hours, store closures, and contact center primacy.
- Joining the virtual party by showcasing video content.
- Explore how the provisions of the CARES Act may help weather the coming months. If retailers and solutions providers qualify, they should:
- Analyze this program as an essential part of business continuity efforts in the coming weeks.
- Consult with an attorney (counsel) about specific questions related to your situation.
- Recognize that there may be additional packages of support.
Forrester VP and Principal Analyst Sucharita Kodali is available for interviews to discuss the current retail landscape further.