Being the owner of a business always has pluses and minuses. Usually the pluses outnumber the minuses. But maybe not so much right now.
If you feel that way, you've got a lot of company. Ugh! But hang on; maybe we have a perspective that you'll find useful and timely. It's called "Misery loves company!"
First, consider where we are. Early July, just past a nice Fourth of July Holiday weekend. The summer and early fall look promising, both for getting "back to normal" and for some leisure hours in the hammock. Nice, eh?
But there are those dark clouds out there.
What do they mean? Here's our take on that. Each dark cloud is unique and a tough question only owners can answer. Aren't you asking yourself questions like these?
"Look, I'm the owner. Everybody believes that I'll have the answers to all these and other questions."
Now that we've put a wrap on 2021, and before we really dive into 2022, it's time to catch your breath and reflect on where we are after 2021.
Perhaps like us you believe that fundamental and enduring changes have occurred; no one can operate on "auto-pilot" anymore. All of us have to learn new processes, and form new habits. What's it called? Oh yes; "embracing change." Lots of it.
That's why it is a very opportune time, particularly for owners, to have a very active Q&A session with themselves.
This is, after all, The Retail OWNERS Institute. We long have specialized in alerting, coaxing, and applauding retail owners worldwide.
Today's message is a major heads-up.
Keeping pace with the relentless changes in retailing has never been easy. Retailers know that constant adjustments are demanded.
Then, the three pandemics of 2020 happened: COVID; the economic meltdown; the social unrest. And life changed modestly or enormously for almost everyone, including owners of retail businesses.
Consider this retailer, whose sales over the last 4 weeks are down 12% compared to last year.
Some retailers in this situation essentially freak out.
But others know to keep asking questions. Before they decide what to do next to fix lagging sales, they want to know "Why?"
So, here is one way to get to the numbers behind the numbers; to begin to know the "why" of your sales trends.
All it takes is tapping into the data that's already in your POS system, and putting together a little summary tally sheet. Here's one example.
About a year ago, as the pandemics were beginning to hit their stride, we introduced a framework for retailers to "rethink your merchandise mix."
As depicted in the chart above, we cautioned that once the lockdown was over, as customers resumed shopping, retailers should be prepared for (1) reduced sales totals overall; (2) significantly re-balanced merchandise mixes, initially dominated by "basics/never-outs."
Further, we anticipated that the merchandise mix would continue to change as we re-emerge from the effects of the pandemics. And we urged retailers to take this overall construct and adapt it to their own situation; to develop their own customized strategic response.*
Now, one year later, here's how this can become "news you can use" to quickly produce your Big Picture buying plan. Especially in the spring of 2021, some practical answers to "What to buy?" , "How much?" and "When?" are likely to be very welcome.
Have you noticed? That persisting Plague of Uncertainty that keeps hanging around?
And amidst all this relentless uncertainty, you still have a business to run, employees to motivate, customers to satisfy, vendors to deal with, creditors to pay, etc, etc.
Here are some ideas on how to approach that.
A few years ago we were on a PBS news show about retailing's ups and downs. Several months later, one of us ran into a teacher of one of our kids. That person excitedly mentioned having seen us on TV, saying "I didn't know you knew so much about retailing." (Yep, known just as someone's parent, right?)
But then this very well-educated person said the key thing: "I never knew there was so much to be known about retailing!"
Well, that incident happened a few years ago when retailing was perhaps more understandable, even more predictable. Alas, those days are history! Today, nothing in retailing is quite as understandable or as predictable as before. Or as manageable!
Still less than $1 a day! 👀