There's something in the air. And no, it is not smoke!
We believe there is a profound feeling of "springtime."
We know; spring officially is still two months away. But that springtime state of mind IS here. And we all should embrace the opportunities it may bring us.
What's the source of this attitude change?
But the big news in our professional world is that independent retailers worldwide seem to be re-energized, re-charged, and re-awakened. What a thrill to see!
Entrepreneurship, the spirit of building, the guts to "I'll do it myself!" The very foundation of retailing is booming.
Look around. Retailers are discussing expansion. Start-ups are racing the crocuses and tulips for attention. It's exciting!
And the customers are just as eager to emerge from this prolonged hibernation. The sense of community that retail offers has never disappeared; it only was deferred.
The feeling of optimism. Don't you sense it all around you?
The constant challenge for retailers is to anticipate what their customers really want. And this year, there seem to be plenty of choices available.
It is all part of the on-going challenge of retail; the art and craft of being a merchant.
Then there are the customers who are reacting to the constant drumbeat of news about supply chain issues, merchandise shortages, and looming price increases by starting their shopping early.
Adding to this stampede, some major chains were launching their Black Friday specials before Halloween!
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.
As Amazon Prime Day approaches – it is June 21 and 22 this year, the earliest ever for this 48-hour promotional event – retailers from all segments are wondering (or being asked): "So, how do you compete with Amazon?"
Our response? You don't, at least not directly.
Yet independent retailers do have many strategic advantages over Amazon. But you must recognize them, and enhance them at every opportunity. Here are some ideas that you may want to consider.
Yes, we know. Owning a retail business these days is one flexibility test after another. And there are no one-size-fits-all solutions.
In the United States, one of the most widespread impacts of the virus is uncertainty. With no end in sight. It is the virus that is in charge. As the president of Alaska Airlines noted, "We don't know what the future looks like."*
But the fact remains, whomever is selling to the ultimate consumer has leverage. Might that be you?
Maybe you know someone like this. Or are related to them. Or are looking at them each day in the mirror.
You know; the restless, impatient ones. The entrepreneurs; the risk takers. Those who want to be their own boss. "Do it myself!"
Our theory is that the changes spawned from these triple pandemics – the coronavirus, the economic meltdown, and the civil unrest – will also be evident in new business startups. And that includes all kind of new retail concepts.
Out of this period of unprecedented frustration can come new-found backbones.
Here's a post-pandemic strategy that should not be missed: higher margins!
Not the entire store, of course; you must be a merchant here.
But think about it: many shoppers have increased savings, reduced debt, or gotten their job back. Maybe all three.
And after months of being at home, and spending on home improvement and groceries, many shoppers have pent-up demand to spend on items they have had to postpone, like for themselves. Whether that would be in a restaurant or in a specialty store, shoppers are more willing and able to spend. (And some even feel entitled to spend.)
Still less than $1 a day! 👀