How 3 Retailers Are Putting People First During COVID-19


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Montreal-based Lightspeed, a cloud-based commerce platform powering small and medium-sized businesses in over 100 countries around the world, has introduced several initiatives to support those impacted by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Lightspeed also recently launched a series of webinars to educate businesses worldwide during this time with the next set for Wednesday, April 15 at 2pm EST on the topic “COVID-19: Manage the financial impact on your business” with registrations open.

Several Lightspeed retailers are helping out during this crisis in their own ways:

Off The Hook: Supporting self-isolation with online-only capsule collections

One of the first retailers to close its doors in Montreal to protect staff and customers was Off The Hook, who also released an exclusive online “Stay Home 2020” capsule collection to encourage people to stay inside and shop online. Designed by Laurent Faker, the collection features a sweatsuit and t-shirts all branded with the collection’s name.


Lorena Saravia Butcher: Helping finance equipment for healthcare workers

Based in Mexico City and recently appearing on Netflix’s Next in Fashion, Lorena Saravia is helping to finance equipment for healthcare workers with the creation of a new collection of T-shirts, donating 100 percent of the profits to purchasing much-needed supplies for hospitals responding to the pandemic.


Ruti: Staying connected to customers through video chat

A top ready-to-wear boutique with 10 stores across the United States, Ruti pivoted to scheduling virtual stylist appointments for customers in response to store closures, meeting customers where they are and enabling 30 of their stylists to continue working full-time with no plans for layoffs.

“We need to meet the customers where they are instead of them coming to us,” said Chief Technology Officer, Sharon Segev, on the Lightspeed website. “It’s more accelerated than we planned but generally we believe this is the future of retail.”

Segev has used video chats to keep appointments and that has allowed Ruti to keep all 30 of its stylists working full-time.

“The more we keep our assets, the more capable we will be afterward to rebuild our business and grow it again. If we get rid of everything it’ll be like a broken bridge and it’ll be very hard to rebuild,” said Segev.


Lightspeed said small and medium-sized businesses around the world impacted by the crisis will receive free resources from the global POS leader.

For the next three months, Lightspeed is offering the following services for free to help customers adapt:

“Our employees and customers are at the heart of everything we do, and during this time of social distancing and uncertainty, it is more important than ever that we support them in a tangible way,” said Dax Dasilva, Founder and CEO of Lightspeed. “I’m inspired by the spirit and innovation from some of our customers leveraging omni and creative home delivery options to make the best of an incredibly difficult time. Helping others do the same is at the heart of these incentives that we are putting in place.”

Lightspeed has also rolled out a #lightspeedlocal initiative that engages its company employees to shop locally and support small businesses in its network. It said the program reimburses employees in its 14 global offices up to $500 in local currency on purchases employees make from any Lightspeed retail or restaurant customer, whether through eCommerce shopping, meal takeout or delivery.

“To further help SMBs protect their businesses, Lightspeed launched an online COVID-19 Retail and Restaurant Resource Guide. The guide includes tips for operational tasks, as well as tools for new revenue streams to help businesses navigate changes in consumer behaviour,” said the company. “Our efforts aim to help small and medium-sized businesses remain agile in the current socio-economic climate and provide them with resources to safeguard a prosperous future.

“On the heels of its recent bought deal offering, which closed February 27, 2020, Lightspeed remains well capitalized to support its highly diversified retail and restaurant customer base through this difficult time.”

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.


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