Is 2020 continuing to wear you down? No surprise. And no shame in that!
Retailers are among the most optimistic folks we know. But the relentlessness of the disruptions and in some cases tragedies of the three pandemics – the virus, the economic meltdown, and the civil unrest – followed by the wildfires in the West and the hurricanes in the Southeast, now compounded by the uncertainties of national election. Oh, and then there's the impending flu season. And... And...
It IS a lot. And it feels as if there is no relief in sight. But maybe there is.
All of which brought to mind our work with a retailer during the 2008-2009 Great Recession. Beset by a similar compounding of dire and uncontrollable threats, one of the owners shared his technique for maintaining his sanity: get out onto the sales floor. Talk to the customers!
Great advice, isn't it? Especially for retailers. When times get discouraging, go talk with the customers! Wherever you can find them.
Sure, there may not be as many of them as Before The Pandemics. But don't let your remorse about that prevent you from enjoying those who do come to your store!
Yes, retailers are optimistic. But even more fundamental, retailers are people-people. They draw energy from other people.
So – especially when the news of the day can seem so downbeat, seek out your customers. And enjoy!
* (Remember when you said that, John? We sure do!)
Let's assume your stores have been closed for weeks now.
We recognize how conscientious you are. So, after paying what you can to your employees (and yourself), the next most-worrisome dilemma is your rent.
As you likely have discovered, a common choice for many landlords is to offer to defer your payments. But that means taking on more debt, as those payments are only being postponed to a later point in time.
You need a better solution than that.
You've no doubt seen the headlines. "Retail sales slumped in December."
Sounds pretty grim, doesn't it? Did all those foreboding warnings of supply chain issues, inventory shortages, etcetera actually come true?
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.
The playing field has shifted dramatically under the feet of retailers.
Merchandise orders placed months ago are now proving to be "too much stuff that consumers no longer want so much of," as was reported rather colloquially just 3 days ago. All this was summed up this way: "Retailers with slower inventory turns might find current conditions especially difficult to navigate." *
Now, look at the chart at the top of the page. Without being dramatic, it may be a lifesaver for your business this year.
YOU are the leader we need now!
Most of the people who receive our weekly newsletter from The Retail Owners Institute® are either owners of stores (duh...) or work with retail owners, not only in America but around the world.
When you think about it, owners and senior management of retail businesses are looked upon as leaders everyday, by employees, by suppliers, by customers, by their families and often by the media. You are community builders.
Amidst this pandemic, your leadership is more vital than ever.
Usually at this time of year, we would be encouraging you to remember that "the lull" is about to arrive.
That is, that time span from Black Friday/Cyber Monday through early December is typically much slower for retailers.
And then, come December 10th or so, the Christmas sprint begins!
Ahh yes. That was then. And this is, well, 2020.
Still less than $1 a day! 👀