By Alan Wolf, YSN
It comes as no surprise that BrandSource members, like most of retail, are feeling the effects of the coronavirus outbreak.
But what may be surprising is how well some businesses are holding up amid the nation’s new shelter-in-place landscape.
According to a March 31 survey of BrandSource dealers, 63 percent of the 184 respondents said they had been negatively impacted by the virus over the preceding two weeks. Those most affected were larger dealers with 50 to 99 employees, half of whom reported a significant decline in business, while about a third of members with 100 or more employees said business was “slightly up.”
Among dealers with one to 49 employees, roughly one in five, or about 20 percent, said business was either slightly or significantly up, thanks ostensibly to brisk sales of refrigerators and freestanding freezers as consumers stocked up on food.
Members were largely feeling the pain in their showrooms, where foot traffic declined by 20 percent or more for some 68 percent of respondents. Conversely, 59 percent of BrandSource members enjoyed an increase in web traffic, with over one-fifth of dealers reporting an online spike of 20 percent or more, as consumers sharply turn to the Internet for their shopping needs.
The good news is members have the know-how to improve their websites with digital tools like online chat, a payment gateway, in-stock tags, attachment sales, and on-site approvals for a BrandSource credit card. Indeed, some 60 percent said they have the ability to set up at least two of the website features and 38 percent have the know how to set up at least four.
Less than half (49 percent) of members said they are making workforce changes in response to the current business climate, including reducing hours or, for 21 percent of respondents, laying off workers. BrandSource advises all members to stay abreast of the latest employee regulations and loan opportunities, including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the Families First Coronavirus Act (FFCRA) and a limited waiver of the HIPAA Privacy Rule by visiting the COVID Info Hub Resources & Documents page on YourSourceNews.
See also: Managing COVID-19 in the Workplace, a webinar with employment attorney Laura Corvo
Complete survey results are available to members in the BrandSource Backroom.
BrandSource is a unit of YourSourceNews publisher AVB Inc.