The challenges of operating under COVID-19 have left many retailers struggling, but they are not alone. Players across the industry, from industry trade groups to solution providers to individual retailers, are providing a variety of resources that can be used to weather the current crisis. Retail TouchPoints will update the list as more resources are made available.
Many retailers are struggling financially after being closed up for months, but there are some programs that can offer financial relief to eligible participants.
U.S. Small Business Association
The SBA is offering a number of options for companies seeking coronavirus relief. The loan models include the Paycheck Protection Program, EIDL Loan Advance, SBA Express Bridge Loans and SBA Debt Relief. The agency also is offering free business counseling.
Brookfield Asset Management
Brookfield Asset Management is planning to raise and invest $5 billion in a program called the Retail Revitalization Program, a fund created to help retailers recover from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. The program, which will be run by Brookfield and its institutional partners, will focus on making non-control investments in retailers.
Several organizations are releasing guidance to help retailers get back on their feet in a safe, efficient manner, following best practices laid out by state governments and essential retailers that have continued operating under the current conditions.
The law firm has launched the Akerman Return to Work Resource Guide, a collection of reference materials, form documents, questions, concerns, checklists, policies and procedures that can be used to help retailers safely reopen their stores. Companies can contact [email protected] for a copy of the content in its entirety, or for consultation on best practices for implementation.
National Governors Association
This group is tracking federal and state-by-state responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, which can help retailers comply with local regulations as they go about their reopening processes. The National Governors Association also is noting federal actions and opportunities, including FEMA documents on best practices for reopening.
The Kroger Co.
Kroger has been operating throughout the pandemic, and it has collected its lessons in Sharing What We’ve Learned: A Blueprint for Businesses. Each document is aimed at a specific topic, including managing people, handling internal and external communication and sourcing high-demand products.
Reduced Cost/Free Solutions
Many retailers are offering discounted or free versions of their tools to help retailers navigate the current climate. Some also have rolled out new or updated solutions designed for COVID-19, including Stop-Painting.com, JRNI and Reflexis.
enVista is offering pro bono consulting sessions to help leaders quickly respond to the challenges of this crisis. The company also has released guidance on a number of topics, including reducing the impact on transportation networks, improving warehouse operations and tips for remote working and security.
Retailers are being offered temporary free access to a number of SAP technologies, including Qualtrics Remote Work Pulse; SAP Ariba Discovery; SAP Litmos’s on-demand Remote Readiness & Effectivity Academy; and two custom COVID-19 checklists in Ruum by SAP. Retailers can check for additional free services here.
The company is offering a 45 Point Re-Open Checklist and a Covid Support Vendor List free of charge to retailers looking to reopen their stores. The list includes companies to contact for social distancing signage, sneeze guards, sanitation stations, sanitizer and PPE.
Amazon will sell hundreds of thousands of 3D printed face guards at cost on Amazon.com. The masks are approved by NIH and will be offered to frontline workers first before becoming available to all Amazon customers.
This solution provider is offering HERE WeGo Deliver, a delivery and route optimization app, free of charge to any small or medium-sized business until 2021. The tool is designed to help companies plan and dispatch their delivery services during a time of increased e-Commerce.
Retail trade groups and other interested parties have collected additional information on resources that can help retailers. Some groups also are advocating for the industry in Congress, hoping to secure additional relief for companies in need.
The National Retail Federation
The NRF has compiled a comprehensive list of resources to help retailers survive the crisis and handle the reopening process under its Coronavirus Resources for Retailers section. The site includes a list of state-by-state restrictions; guidance for store reopening procedures; information on loan resources; and regular updates on the trade association’s own efforts to help the retail industry.
Retail Leaders Industry Association
The RILA has released a number of blueprints to help retailers operate safely under COVID-19, as well as webinars and other in-depth resources for its members.
America’s Recovery Fund Coalition
America’s Recovery Fund Coalition is made up of more than 100 organizations across retail, restaurant, real estate, financial and other industries. The group is advocating for Congress to provide funding that can help businesses retain and rehire staff, pay rent, adapt to new requirements, meet certain debt obligations and pay state and local taxes. Once established, the fund will include strict federal oversight and anti-abuse mechanisms.
If your organization has any offerings that may be of assistance to the retail community’s recovery, please contact [email protected].