That message is emblazoned – in sunshine colors - in the windows of Nordstrom's flagship store in downtown Seattle. And yes, on a drizzly January day in Seattle, it was a welcome sight this morning. A nice pep talk for us all.
And a fitting message to follow our reflections on the year we just experienced.
Since March 2 of 2020, our From The Co-Founders commentary has been focused on the pandemics. Revisiting those was quite the "year in review" experience.*
Indeed, there were plenty of those judgment-demanding opportunities for owners! What we came to call "the fog of uncertainty" demanded unrelenting flexibility tests of retailers. Here are a few samples from the last 10 months:
All of this is relevant as we embark on 2021.
Our conviction of March 23, 2020 that "Even as painful and disruptive as the pandemic is at this moment, we must remind ourselves that it will subside. It's not whether it will subside, just when."
Well okay then. We're all still waiting.
And according to economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal**, we may have to wait a bit more. "Firms face a difficult first quarter as Covid-19 cases surge, but stimulus and vaccines offer hope for a snapback in the second half of 2021." But, as economists view the world, that IS light at the end of the tunnel.
Meanwhile, we will embrace the spirit of the message from Nordstrom, expressing the attitude of retailers: "Keep your head up. 2021 is going to be great!"
* See Perspectives on The ROI site to see all Covid-19 commentary From The Co-Founders. (It's worthwhile!)
** "Economists Expect Tough Sledding in Winter, Then a Rebound." Harriett Torry, The Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2021.
There's a lot of optimism in the air these days.
Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are being eased. More people are becoming vaccinated. Upbeat economic news is reported. Unemployment figures are improving. Restaurants are preparing for diners to return. And of course, given that we are now starting to compare sales results to the meltdowns of 2020, dramatic percentage growth is being reported and forecast for the balance of the year.
These positive and optimistic news reports all are very welcome. Retailers are eager to see customers return.
But what should retailers expect? To brace yourself for the myriad changes.
As we reflect on this year and the multiple and still-ongoing effects of the pandemic, we are inspired once again by the resilience and perseverance of independent retailers.
Then we saw a comment about dealing with adversity that seems particularly relevant to retailers.
Remember Cher, the entertainer? (And conservationist and philanthropist.) She was asked by Christine Amanpour about how she dealt with adversity and setbacks (like bankruptcy) throughout her career.
The just-released "2021's Main Street Business Survivor Study" from the Pandenomics series conducted by the PYMNTS.com folks* focuses on the "Main Street Survivors:" those small to medium sized businesses "that have weathered the pandemic's fallout."
What have these "survivors" done differently than the rest of SMB businesses? Here are the major findings of their study. We think that you'll see many of the survival steps you have taken, or be prompted to adopt some others.
Each of us, our households, businesses and communities are in different stages of shutdown due to the coronavirus.
While we cannot speak to when this will end, we do have some ideas for dealing with the "fog of uncertainty" that hangs over us all.
Many times during 2020 we spoke of "disruption with a capital D!"
And now, more than a third of the way through 2021, that Disruption with a capital D shows no signs of abating. Instead, it just keeps morphing (not unlike the Covid strains that keep emerging....)
But the disruption that we see emerging is in the attitude, deportment, and psyche of Millennials, and the many people who are now acting like Millennials. This is showing up in the attitude of shoppers as well as employees.
We are entering an exceptionally exciting time for retailing.
Nationwide, the U.S. is experiencing an entrepreneurial surge not seen since the tech boom of the 1990s, said Kenan Fikri, research director for the Economic Innovation Group in Washington, D.C.
According to an analysis of Census data by EIG, "Through September, Americans have filed a record 1.4 million applications to start new businesses – the most through the third quarter of any year on record."*
Experts suggest it’s being fueled by rising household wealth and shifting life priorities, after millions of Americans were tossed from their jobs during the pandemic.
Still less than $1 a day! 👀