Small businesses, online retailers and everyone in between is feeling the pinch of the current virus crisis. With new information flooding the world every day, it can be hard to keep up. Power Retail sat down with Kate Morris, Founder and CEO of Adore Beauty, to discuss the current situation.
Just like the rest of the world, Adore Beauty is taking things one day at a time. The Australian online retailer, who won three awards at the Power Retail All Star Bash, understands the struggle that all retailers are currently facing, especially SMEs.
“I really worry for a lot of the smaller businesses,” she tells Power Retail. “As a larger business, we’re in a good position. But I worry about my nail bar up the street; how are they going to get through this? It’s a bit scary.”
Across the country, retailers are taking active steps and precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, it’s hard for everyone to keep up with the rapid changes. This is something that Adore Beauty is taking one day at a time.
“We’re taking it day-by-day, at the moment,” Morris explains. “I think there’s a lot of information, and there’s a lot of hysteria and craziness out there. We’re sticking to the expert advice from the Victorian Department of Health. But it’s really on a day-by-day basis.”
The Victorian Department of Health has issued statements advising workforces to ensure ‘high standards of routine environmental cleaning’, to plan for ‘increased levels of staff absences’ and plan ‘for what to do if staff arrive sick at work’. For many offices around the state, this means setting up work from home facilities and ensuring there is plentiful hand sanitiser, soap and hygiene products readily available.
“We’re trying to plan, at any given moment, for ‘what is the next stage likely to look like’, ” Morris says. “Because I think we’re all going to have to be a little bit agile.”
While currently, it’s business as usual for Adore Beauty, there are significant priorities that the CEO is keeping in check. “Obviously, the number one concern is to keep our team safe and minimise risk in that regard,” she says. “Number is two is around business continuity, and how do we make sure that we can continue to operate through this, because it could go on for a while.”
Kate Morris, just like the rest of the world, is hyper-aware that it’s a widespread issue. To keep in the loop with other online retailers, she has set up a Slack channel group to stay informed and provide support.
“I set up a Slack channel for other online retailers – we’ve got about 120 people in there, from a whole bunch of different companies,” she tells us. “Everyone is sharing what challenges they’re facing, what their plans are, their policy updates. And that’s really useful, I think. Because we’re all in unchartered territory, here. We’re off the map, so we’ve really got to collaborate and support each other, and stick together so that we all get through it.”
A significant factor of this entire situation is that everyone is going through it. It’s not affecting a single industry, but all of them. The Slack channel that Morris set up aims to support and keep those within the online retail industry together. “We can share information as it happens,” she explains. “And most of all, I think most importantly that we don’t feel alone. That’s one of the really scary things is to think ‘oh goodness, I have to handle this crisis all by myself’. Well, you don’t have to handle it all by yourself; there is a support network there, even if you’re a small business.”
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