Consider this: Will this Holiday Season happen...
What a 90 days it will be!
Remember July and early August, when there was much optimism?
Then, the Delta variant surged.
But amidst all this is the resilience of retailers and shoppers alike.
The majority of people are vaccinated, and determined to put the pandemics behind them. Enough already, they're saying! We have people to see and family and friendships to celebrate. And they are shopping early. This could be fantastic!
This 2021 Holiday Season will be all about relationships. Your customers are counting on you to help them make this year special.
All those new ways that you established during the pandemics to be connected with your customers? This is the time for them to shine! Use emails and texts and social media to keep your customers personally aware:
Your shoppers already know that this year is different. They know that inventories are tight, and there are fewer retailers to choose from. And they are shopping early! They likely won't be driven by Black Friday specials and early season discounts. They want special, and many are willing and able to pay for it.
Indeed, it looks like 2021 will bring a Holiday Season like no other.
Since Labor Day in the US is the first Monday in September, this year it happens as late as possible. Labor Day will not be celebrated until next Monday, September 7.
Most years, most folks would be perfectly happy to have August stretched out even longer. Ahh, those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, right?
And so, meanwhile, we regard Consumer Confidence as THE key indicator of consumer spending. Just last week, the Conference Board reported that Consumer confidence is at a six year low*. Ouch!
But, was that a surprise to retailers? Not really. Most retailers are well along in coping with these challenges.
We once knew a lady of an earlier generation who steadfastly championed the idea that Labor Day should be considered New Year's Eve, and the Tuesday after Labor Day as the start of the New Year. (Yes, she was ahead of her time in many other ways as well.)
Here's her reasoning about the "real" New Year's Eve: as summer fades away and vacations end, the new school year starts up; the baseball season pennant race is on; football games begin. As all this happens, she explained, most people take on a renewed sense of energy.
The promise of a fresh start is everywhere. Optimism abounds!
Wouldn't 2020 be a great year to cut short? Aren't we all ready to turn the page on it?
Well, while we cannot do it officially, we can embrace that New Year state of mind.
As we introduced previously, the New Normal for retailers is already here. It is a new "retail clock."
Of course, it is not just retailers who have been affected; the shoppers also have been adapting. But whereas retailers think in terms of seasons (weeks and months), the shoppers are adjusting their patterns at the daily and weekly level.
This Holiday season is bringing three big waves for retailers, in rapid succession. And each one requires a strikingly different management response.
Faced with the shipping delays (and surcharges), customers have turned to brick-and-mortar stores. The savvy retailers are ready for them.
As more stores are able to reopen, and more shoppers are willing to emerge, what will they encounter?
There are three "pandemics" assailing us at the moment: the coronavirus; the economic collapse; the protests of racial injustice. The three months plus of stay at home restrictions and the shutdowns, and the confluence of these three pandemics has been a heavy burden. And it shows no signs of going away anytime soon.
As the coronavirus continues to spread and surge (Apple re-closing 11 stores they had recently re-opened is a sobering reminder), the uncertainty and anxiety is only being prolonged.
Still less than $1 a day! 👀