Analysis: Can non-essential retailers trade online without damaging their brand?

asos parcel

Since the government forced all ‘non-essential’ shops to close last Monday, many retailers have found themselves at something of an impasse.

Should they, as retailers of items deemed not to be essential, continue to operate online, or should they shut their digital shops as well as their physical ones?

It is a quandary that so far has divided many operators. Retailers including Net-a-Porter, Next and TK Maxx have all chosen to temporarily close their online operations in a bid to protect staff working in their distribution centres and delivery networks.

However, others like The Entertainer have insisted they have the relevant safety measures in place, including extensive cleaning and disinfecting between shifts, floor markers to enable social distancing, and only using every other picking station to keep workers a safe distance apart.

Asos is another standing its ground and has defiantly hit back at accusations from trade union GMB that it should cease trading online over safety concerns. The etailer’s chief executive Nick Beighton even took to Twitter over the weekend to defend its position.

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