The drastic decision Glossier made due to coronavirus
We’d be remiss if we described Glossier CEO Emily Weiss as anything other than a retail visionary. Her idea of creating a line of beauty products that reflect what we want (instead of buying and using what the industry tells us we need) is a reason that Glossier is the success that it is.
Now, Glossier could end up being a trendsetter not just in the beauty industry but for retail as a whole, thanks to Weiss’ decision to close all of her brand’s stores for two weeks to promote social distancing to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. She admitted that the move was a departure from her original “let’s follow and not lead” position, but she reconsidered her stance. As Weiss shared in a Glossier blog, “I thought: Wait a minute, we are leaders in retail, in so many ways. Our permanent and temporary offline experiences are more of a daily community event than a traditional store. Why wouldn’t we lead here? This quickly became an easy, albeit painful, decision. Together with our community, we will always strive to create less harm and more good in the world.”
Glossier's closure will hurt its growth and bottom line
The move will undoubtedly eat into Glossier’s profits and growth trajectory, because as Weiss says, the company’s New York flagship store attracts 2,000 persons a day. Suspending retail activity means delaying the opening of Glossier Arizona. All this is coupled with Weiss’ promise that all their staff, also known as “offline editors,” would be compensated throughout the planned two weeks of closure. As she notes, “From a company perspective, by closing our stores, we’ll sacrifice some near-term business goals, but we’re prepared to put public health ahead of our bottom line.”
Shopping may be one of the ways we normally rely on to deal with stress, but with the added challenge of having to maintain social distancing, we can only imagine that diminished foot traffic will become a real challenge for the retail industry. Since Glossier made its announcement, Apple has also said it will close all of its stores outside greater China for the next two weeks (via The New York Times), so we can only think that these two could actually be way ahead of the curve.
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