Unless you’re selling sweatpants, which sold out 80 percent faster in April versus February this year, most fashion retailers face a dire spring and summer. J.C. Penney is the most recent casualty amongst retail giants, joining Nieman Marcus, Macy’s M and others in filing for bankruptcy. Meanwhile, April retail sales in the United States plunged 17.8 percent compared with 2019.

Stores in some parts of the United States are reopening, but not fully. The number of customers allowed inside stores may be limited — and many people will continue to stay away from non-essential businesses. To survive the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, retailers need new ways to stay close to customers virtually.

Here, two startup founders and an SAP expert describe how technology can help retailers survive and recover – while keeping their brands and customer followings intact.

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