This article is the first article of a three-part series on e-commerce addressing the merchant experience, improving consumer experience, and the next generation of technology
Covid-19’s impact on American retailers has been massive — not just in terms of lost income or jobs, but also the accelerated rise in e-commerce volume. Online retail, which had previously taken more than a decade to reach 16%, leapfrogged to 27% in the 2 months following the onset of Covid. Experts forecast this growth will only continue, magnifying the opportunity for e-commerce but also the challenges ahead.
For merchants, the rapid shift from in-store to online has made an e-commerce platform a business necessity. Retailers that had previously sat on the sidelines are now forced to reckon with a new reality. Meanwhile, those that already had strong web platforms are quickly working to improve them. Regardless of their prior embrace of the stage of e-commerce, all retailers now recognize that a dynamic online presence is critical to survival. They also recognize that shifting toward online comes with new complications.
That’s where software companies have an important role to play. This year has seen a surge of new software offerings aimed at modernizing, expanding and fixing shortcomings in merchants’ online platforms. Even though e-commerce technology remains a work in progress, the pace of progress has been brisk.
Take fraud for example, which becomes more complex and more prevalent as shoppers are no longer physically present at checkout. Credit card fraud is easier to execute online than in a store, making it a serious pain point for retail. And a costly one, at that. Merchants are responsible for fraud prevention and have to deal with the ultimate compromise of taking on more risk or tightening controls with the consequence of turning away paying customers. Fraud eats
Dance in the age of coronavirus: Cleveland’s professional troupes display creativity in 2020 fall season programming
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Different as they are, Cleveland’s major dance groups are alike in evincing one important quality during the coronavirus pandemic: creativity.
Unable to proceed as normal, to perform for live audiences in their usual venues, all have displayed balletic flexibility and remarkable haste in efforts to amend or wholly redesign their fall seasons.
“We’re talking about a significant change to our lifestyle,” said Margaret Carlson, producing artistic director of Verb Ballets. “We’re experimenting with different ways of reaching audiences. It’s all an experimental process.”
For some, the experiment already has been underway for months. Many spent the summer finding larger studios, learning to dance while wearing masks, and devising ways to connect with patrons online or in other socially distant manners.
Others, meanwhile, have had to act more quickly. They’re now drafting new game-plans for the fall, having waited out the summer in the hope that larger audiences would be permitted to gather indoors by this point. One troupe, Neos Dance Theatre, went and remains on hiatus during the pandemic, and is now mulling a company-wide restructuring.
“There’s a lot of learning curve here,” said Pam Young, executive director of DanceCleveland, noting that with so much uncertainty in the world, “the best we can do right now is put dates on the calendar by which we have to make decisions.”
Cleveland Ballet had an ambitious fall season on the horizon, including a production of “The Magic Flute” at Playhouse Square. That, though, became unfeasible with Playhouse Square remaining closed and indoor gatherings still limited.
Luckily, it found an alternative. Just before the weather changed too dramatically, the company put together an Ohio tour called “Outside the Box,” a whirlwind string of outdoor shows at Stan Hywet Hall and vineyards in Aurora and Canton. Thus will “The Magic Flute”