COVID-19 and Clothing Resale
How Will the Health Climate Have an Impact on Clothing Sales? What Practices Can Be Executed to Ensure a Safe Product?
If you're a reseller or thinking of becoming one, you may be wondering how COVID-19 has an effect on sales, and your ability to sell.
As of today March 19th, 2020... we have faced voluntary and involuntary isolation, school closings and reductions in business hours.
We're dealing with person to person distance regulations and an overall heir of fear and confusion from others around us. Leaving stores to deal with the brunt of declining sales and an uncertain future.
The moral aspect of businesses accommodating consumers is impressive. This shows that people are seen as more than numbers, their safety is thought of as well. The downside to no sales is no sales. Without customers, no money is made.
People are spending less on things they want, to stock up on things they need. This is an overall tremendous climate that could have devastating results, depending on the severity and length of the pandemic.
For those that resell clothing, even as a side hustle, reselling is a means to an end.
It can do as little as put a few gallons of gas in your tank or do as much as pay your bills. This income is not set in stone (like a salary in a non "At Will State" - Source: Wikipedia) and you have to work hard to make sales, but it's still good a way to generate income, while doing something you enjoy.
Unfortunately, if this is a side hustle and you may have had to deal with less working hours at your regular job, if you're able to get any hours at all. If you have a job where Paid Time Off (PTO) is not offered, you may be wondering how you're going to pay bills and make ends meet.
This is a time when you'll need to be truly honest about your plans and back up plans for the future. If you have to make this work because this is your job, you'll need to think about practices to put in place to attempt to maintain your income (or at least try to come close to it).
Selling clothing online in this climate may be difficult.
Many are nervous about how long the virus lives on fabrics and materials, and they wonder if it's safe to buy from someone that could potentially be infected.
According to Harvard Health - "...the COVID-19 coronavirus can survive up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and steel. The researchers also found that this virus can hang out as droplets in the air for up to three hours before they fall. But most often they will fall more quickly...".
Clothing, though still at risk, holds the virus for a shorter period of time, making it appear to be a little safer than harder/more solid surfaces.
Vincent Munster (Head of the virus ecology section at Rocky Mountain Laboratories), in an article by BBC News, he speculates that clothing and other softer typed materials may hold the virus for a shorter period of time due to its' porous nature. But, it is not yet clear how much time this actually is.
Full article: "How long does the coronavirus last on surfaces"
Even with these studies, much is still not known about how long this virus can actually live on clothing, making it difficult to try to sell when people are already nervous about buying.
If you want to try an uphold at least some of your income, here are some ideas for practices that can help your customers feel safer, while creating an avenue to generate income.
Change Your Practices
Publish a Statement
Offer More Appealing Deals to the Customer
Change Your Practices
Changing your practices may include disinfecting the items and wearing protective gear while handling your products. This method shows the customer that you're taking active measures towards safety and can be a way to give the customer some trust in your product.
The downside to this is the smell of some disinfectants. Some people are allergic and some simply don't like the smell. Before starting this practice, you'll want to research the products you plan to use to make sure they're safe and effective. You'll then want to make some sort of statement regarding these practices.
PDF approved products
Source: American Chemistry-Novel Coronavirus Fighting Products list - List of products that are in compliance with EPA guidelines
Publish A Statement
Make an announcement either via email or on a post, stating that you understand that there is a crisis going on, and you're doing all you can to accommodate customer issues and concerns. Making this announcement shows that you are aware of the climate and you are willing to make adjustments for the benefit of your customer.
Offer Appealing Deals
For customers that are still buying, appeal to their pocket by offering discounts. You can do this to encourage them to buy more, or you can simply do this as a thank you to the customers that are still spending with you. Either way, this is an opportunity for more customers to get to your products and a way to continue to generate income.
Another way to be appealing is to start offering products that are needed right now. This may be a little difficult to do in the clothing industry, but if you find a product that heavily searched for in your location, it may be worth doing some research to decide if this is a products that will be lucrative for you.
On the other hand...
If you can afford to take a break and you're concerned for the safety of yourself and your family, you may decide to take a break altogether.
These decisions won't be easy, but they are necessary if you decide to continue clothing sales in the future. We'll all have to see how this turns out in the long run.
I hope this article has been helpful in giving you some ideas on clothing safety and financial impacts. I'm not an expert in finances, but I understand how the economy has an impact on clothing sales - depending on the type of clothing you're selling.
Regardless of how you plan to conduct business in the future, one of the best practices for business in general is to remember to show compassion to your customers. You'll want to put practices in place that encourage safety and well-being, even if that means putting things on hold or slowing down for a while.
No one has all the answers on this topic. This is a new experience for most of us and we have to learn how to navigate our way through all of this without a manual. I hope everyone stays safe and can continue to prosper during this hard time.
- Nykole (Vynes Apparel)