Australian brands are being forced to take drastic measures in a bid to remain open amid growing coronavirus concerns, as shoppers turn to the internet.
Australian brands are being forced to take drastic measures in a bid to remain open amid growing coronavirus concerns, as shoppers turn to the internet.

How retailers are fighting for your dollar during virus

Major Australian brands are being forced to take drastic measures in a bid to remain open amid growing coronavirus concerns.

As some international retailers temporarily shut stores - including Apple, Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom and Sephora in the US - a number of major Australian retailers are, to date, choosing to remain open.

Myer, David Jones and Harvey Norman are still operating, with JB Hi-Fi delaying entry to the public for an hour each morning to allow for extra cleaning, a source revealed.

But as calls for self-isolation and social distancing increase, the demand for online shopping is growing exponentially.

The Iconic has noted "limited" disruption to online orders, while Myer said there had been no delays to its online shopping deliveries so far.

A Myer spokesman confirmed the department giant was trading as normal, and those buying online would be sent orders "as quickly as possible" either through its delivery options or click and collect services.

Myer has suspended skin-to-skin beauty services, bra and suit fittings, to "reduce direct human contact".

"The health and wellbeing of our customers, as well as team members, is paramount and our absolute priority, and we have taken immediate steps to keep them safe in our stores," a Myer spokesman said.

Myer has also boosted in-store cleaning and hygiene practices, including on "high-contact areas and counters" and hand sanitisers.

 

David Jones held its autumn/winter season launch at Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival last week. Picture: Getty Images
David Jones held its autumn/winter season launch at Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival last week. Picture: Getty Images

 

Victoria Lee, pictured on the runway for David Jones. The Australian department store is still operating during the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Getty Images
Victoria Lee, pictured on the runway for David Jones. The Australian department store is still operating during the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Getty Images

 

David Jones stores remain open nationally, and it was "operating … within the government guidelines", a David Jones spokeswoman said. It has halted beauty treatments and makeup services "until further notice" and cancelled in-store events.

"We have also taken extra steps to ensure our stores are clean, hygienic environments for everyone by increasing the frequency of cleaning and sanitisation in all our stores, including high-touch areas such as handrails and counters, as well as adding complimentary hand sanitiser within our stores," she said.

LUXE IMPACT

On the high-end scale, UK luxury retailer Matches Fashion has shut its Londons stores for the "foreseeable future" and is still operating online, including shipping to Australia - one of its key markets for internet shopping.

In a statement, matchesfashion.com said it was "currently operating a normal delivery service everywhere, with the exception of Wuhan in China and Piacenza in Italy".

The retailer said its delivery partners were "monitoring the health of their drivers closely; vehicles are disinfected daily and drivers are washing their hands and using hand sanitiser regularly".

Australian designer label camilla and marc confirmed its stores were still open "as per normal working hours according to national and state guidelines," camilla and marc said in a statement to customers.

 

camilla and marc’s Brisbane store is still open. Picture: Supplied
camilla and marc’s Brisbane store is still open. Picture: Supplied

And a new take on the so-called "lipstick index" has emerged - a rise in the sales of activewear.

The "lipstick index" refers to the spike in sales of cosmetics during the recession in the early 2000s, as consumers turned to relatively affordable makeup purchases as a way of with coping with the economic downturn.

Australian online retailer The Iconic has noted a "rise" in activewear and athleisure sales, as a large majority of australians move to a work-from-home set-up during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Iconic said online orders were being shipped as normal, and the impact on delivery dates for online orders had been "limited".

"Being specialists in online, we have a wide and varied assortment of delivery options and so far the disruption for The Iconic has been limited," The Iconic chief executive Erica Berchtold said.

 

Australian retailers are noticing a surge in online shopping during the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: Nicki Connolly
Australian retailers are noticing a surge in online shopping during the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: Nicki Connolly

 

"We are certainly seeing a shift in the mix of what people are buying, whether that be loungewear, sweats and hoodies to leisurewear as more of our customers adjust to working from home," Ms Berchtold said.

In terms of shipping, Australia Post has introduced strict new measures to deal a surge in internet shopping. It said deliveries would no longer require a signature "to minimise the risk of contracting or spreading coronavirus".

This applies to all parcels be it at a Post Office or a private residence.

Instead, the delivery driver or Australia Post representative will record the recipient's name and sign it on their behalf.

"In all cases, whether a driver or postie delivers to the door or a customer goes in to their local Post Office to collect a parcel, an Australia Post staff member will ask and record the customer's name and sign on their behalf," Australia Post said in a statement.

"The customer will still need to be present for this to occur, but contact will be minimised by either leaving the parcel at the door until the driver or postie has left the premises, or left for the customer to pick up on the counter."

 



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