Undoubtedly you'll agree with this. We read and hear a lot in the business press, but we treat 100% of it rather skeptically.
And so it is with articles and commentary about this coming Holiday Season, specifically about retailers' inventory and margins.
Nevertheless, there is considerable good news being trumpeted. Most recently, this feature article in the Wall Street Journal: "Retailers Hone Inventory for Holidays" *
That was the headline in a recent business page editorial*. And the writer was able to cite chapter and verse of all-too-prevalent lousy shopping experiences for customers.
As noted by a Wharton School professor, "retailers frequently reduce headcount because 'you immediately see the savings in payroll but you don't necessarily know what damage that does to the top line.'" Of course, the retailers that professor is referencing are the Big Guys who have to satisfy their investors every quarter.
As independent retailers, you have advantages that are unavailable to the Big Guys.
Think about the prominent characteristics of today's shopping experience:
Throughout the pandemic, millions of shoppers – including the older Baby Boomers – discovered the benefits of online shopping. Then, as brick-n-mortar retailers scrambled to survive, the increased availability of delivery, curbside pickup, BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup In Store) and BORIS (Buy Online, Return In Store) was well received by a broad swath of consumers.
We see that this has brought heightened awareness of two different retail strategies: Convenience Retailing versus Destination Retailing.
And here's the deal: retailers now must choose either one or the other of those two strategies. You cannot have one foot on the dock and one foot in the boat. You DO have to decide!
It's a given that your sales volume is a very big deal. Granted, you are analyzing it every day. But here's a slightly different approach which you may find very revealing.
Let's start with a couple truisms. The definition of retailing is “selling to the ultimate consumer.”
Retailing also is having "the right product at the right price at the right place at the right time for the right customer."
But, as retailers ponder how best to manage sales in the current consumer environment, does it really matter whether their "right customers" buy from them in-store or online?
Actually, it might! And here’s a simple, free "pilot project" to find out a little more.
Are we alone, or have you also noticed it?
Everything seems to be kind of stalled right now. Maybe that's for good reason. Or maybe this period of malaise is a great opportunity for the bold. Whatever, it seems weird.
Look at these examples:
It's that time of year. As you review your Profit & Loss statement for 2022, your thoughts most likely are turning to "How do we make 2023 a better year than that?"
As we look around, we see a popular cost-saving and productivity-boosting tactic being instituted by many national retailers, shopping malls, and restaurants. They are open fewer hours.
This offers an opportunity for you to revisit your store hours and employee scheduling practices. Maybe it's time to consider some changes, if you haven't already.
Start with the mass of data resting comfortably in your POS system. Look for all the reports by the day of the week. (Be prepared; this may require you to gather information from several reports.)
What you are looking for is data such as this by the day of the week:
The savvy retailers know that now is the time to be putting the finishing touches on – wait for it – being ready for December 26!
Yes, this unique time period between December 26 and New Year's Day is a tremendous make-or-break opportunity. Indeed, many retailers find they net more from this time than any earlier stretch of 6-10 days!
First, the many opportunities to reduce expenses "back to normal". Less advertising cost. Less staff. Fewer hours.
Still less than $1 a day! 👀