Can Neighborhood Goods’ platform help brands hurt by the pandemic?
Before the coronavirus pandemic, physical showcases featuring revolving lineups of indie brands that might have difficulty finding shelf space on their own were gaining popularity. Now, as many indie brands are faced with uncertainty and potential extinction, one retail showcase wants to help some weather the storm.
Neighborhood Goods is launching a platform called The Commons, meant to help indie brands that have experienced disruption from the coronavirus pandemic make sales in the aftermath, as described on its website.
The platform is open to brands — local and national — that have been affected through the cancellation of wholesale relationships or have experienced other financial hardships. Neighborhood Goods will give selected brands shelf space in its physical locations, forgoing its usual fees and commissions on sales. Neighborhood Goods has three physical locations in Austin, TX, Plano, TX, and New York City. The retailer also plans to help restaurateurs, musicians and artists in different ways through The Commons.
The website mentions that The Commons may go live online first, then launch physically as state and federal laws allow for the reopening of non-essential retailers.
Were The Commons to open online first, this would give participating indie brands a new channel for e-commerce sales, which could be good news if a recent study published on PYMNTS is indicative of a trend. The study reports a dramatic jump in online fashion sales over the past two weeks after COVID-19 caused sales to crater at the end of March.
Like most forms of physical retail, the showcase model has been put on pause as social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus has demanded that people stay away from public places.
Pioneers in the field of the retail showcase like B8ta have not fared well in the past month. That retailer, which is owned in part by Macy’s, announced a furlough of retail employees and laid off a large part of its corporate staff, according to Women’s Wear Daily.
- The Commons – Neighborhood Goods
- Online Apparel Catches Fire – PYMNTS
- EXCLUSIVE: B8ta Furloughs Store Staff – WWD
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of Neighborhood Goods’ approach to helping brands affected by COVID-19? What other creative partnerships might help indie brands survive the pandemic?