The COVID-19 crisis has hit us all. Everyone in the business world has been affected by shutdowns that have effectively stopped most economic activity. As a leading provider of wholesale sunglasses, our business has been affected just like yours. But we are committed to keeping things together and helping our retailers get back on their feet.
At this point there is no telling how long the economic impact of COVID-19 will be felt. For now, our advice to eyewear retailers is as simple as looking for every opportunity to make sales. If necessary, obtain emergency funding to keep the lights on. We will get through this eventually.
If you operate a brick-and-mortar outlet for retail sunglasses, please practice the recommended in-store safety procedures. Limit the number of people in your shop at any given time. Mark the area around your cash register to encourage people to stay separated by 6 feet or more.
Also make sure you are practicing good hygiene. Frequently contacted surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected regularly. All employees should be regularly washing their hands with hot water and soap. Any workers who do get sick should stay home until they are well.
Retailers who sell exclusively online do not have the same safety concerns to worry about. Nonetheless, online sales of both discount and fashion sunglasses have undoubtedly slowed since mid-March. That is not what we like to see heading into the busy spring and summer season.
Think about unique spring promotions that could help you increase sales. However, also be cognizant of the seriousness of the current situation. Choose your promotions carefully so that you encourage rather than offend.
Emergency Funding Options
Retailers are going to suffer financially as long as the demand for designer sunglasses remains lower than usual. Brick-and-mortar retailers will suffer more if local ordinances force them to close their doors. Thankfully, there is emergency funding available through a number of sources.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering retail loans under a $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program. Furthermore, federal legislation has extended unemployment benefits to 39 weeks for retail workers. One-time cash payments of up to $1,200 provides a nice supplement to unemployment.
For more information about emergency funding, please visit the National Retail Federation or SBA websites. Both offer all the details you need to figure out which emergency funding sources are right for your business.
Preparing for the Future
We do not want to close this post on a sour note. Rather, we want to encourage all of our retailers to prepare for the future. The COVID-19 pandemic will not last forever. At some point we are going to emerge from this. We want you to be ready to get back to business as quickly as possible.
Keep an eye on your inventory and eyewear trends in the coming weeks. Take a look at what inventory you might be able to sell right away as compared to what will have to put in storage until next spring. You might also consider some additional post-coronavirus promotions to help move inventory you don't want to keep around.
If you have employees, please stay in contact with them during any shutdowns. Assure them that you will bring them back once you are ready to reopen.
It may very well be the 2020 is remembered mostly for COVID-19. In the meantime, let us all work together to make it through the crisis. Here at Olympic Eyewear, we are looking forward to getting back out in the sun while wearing a favorite pair of sunglasses.