This time last year, U.S. retailers could only guess how the rapidly spreading coronavirus would impact operations. It became clear about a month later, as outbreaks across the globe caused retailers to shut their doors en masse. Even then, though, the length of those closures — and the length of other safety measures, like mask-wearing and plexiglass shields at checkout — remained uncertain.
As we approach the one-year mark of COVID-19's disruption, Retail Dive took a look back on some ways the pandemic changed retail, and what retailers have learned from it. With all the challenges the global health crisis brought, it pushed businesses to think critically about where they run stores, how they plan for crises and how robust their e-commerce operations are.
There's no question the past year has altered retail as an industry. The uncertainty now lies in what changes will stick, and what "normal" will look like once retailers get there.