A few years ago, during a planning session in our office, we drew a quick diagram on a whiteboard. It showed three shapes.
Out of all of the potential things we could do, which ones truly warrant our time, energy, and resources?
That picture keeps coming to mind as the COVID-19 shutdown orders on retailers of "non-essential" goods are starting to be lifted.
No matter when your locale receives the "official" go-ahead, you must decide:
Look, your stores already are shut down. The costs of re-opening include not only the usual costs to staff the store and turn on the lights each day, but now you also must comply with social distancing and health monitoring for both employees and shoppers.
Plus, your employees may or may not be available, depending on their age, their health, their childcare needs, and their willingness to deal with the general public right now.
And what about your customers? How eager are they to spend right now on discretionary items? Especially those whose return to work is uncertain until the schools and childcare centers resume?
Meanwhile, as reported by Paul Wiseman of the Associated Press*, the economy could be headed for a dreaded W-shaped recovery.
Keep that picture in mind: What COULD we do? What SHOULD we do? What WILL we do!! And WHEN should we do it?
*Risk of reopening US economy too fast: A W-shaped recovery. Paul Wiseman, Associated Press. The Seattle Times, May 11, 2020.
The basic definition of retailing is "selling to the ultimate consumer."
As you know, HOW that is done, and in what location or format, continues to change and evolve.
So, we were intrigued by this recent post on the Shopify Retail Blog: The Future of Physical Retail in a Digital-First World.*
To us, the blog post was essentially a wide-ranging journey of discovery(and perhaps even some new-found respect for those "physical retailers".)
That's a sign of the times, isn't it?
While retailers are more accustomed than most folks to cope with change, 2020's unrelenting flexibility tests have been a challenge. Forget about five years. Retailers have to be ready for the next five months! It's back-to-school and then Holiday.
The only certainty about the next five months is that they will probably feel like the past five months. Yet you still must run a retail business. And that means you still must buy and sell merchandise.
The opportunities – and the pressures – are mounting.
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly gained the respect of the general public.
Surveys continue to show that, while folks are eager to be able to resume moving about, they do not expect to resume their pre-pandemic discretionary shopping and dining activities anytime soon. They are awaiting effective treatments or, even better, a vaccine.
Main Street restauranteurs and retailers understand that, according to survey results reported April 27.* In fact, these owners anticipate it could take another eight months – that is, most of the year – for consumer demand to reach the so-called "New Normal."
As the second quarter of the year begins, many of us are experiencing what that fellow in the cartoon is feeling. We are not where we expected to be (and maybe not even where we thought we were!)
Ahh yes, yet another flexibility test. The first quarter of 2022 was full of some major events, nationally and internationally, that disrupted many plans.
As you contemplate where you are now, compared to where you thought you were, and especially, where you intended to be, don't despair! Even more important, just like you do with the GPS system in your car, disregard"returning to the prescribed route."
This is welcome news for many retailers, as consumer confidence has been a key leading indicator of retail sales.
However, a note of caution: retail sales are not the sole component of consumer spending.
YOUR GOAL: QUICKLY GET TO A FIRST DRAFT.
Face it. Sales are dropping. By how much? For how long? Nobody knows for sure.
But, you can make some assumptions, some educated guesses. Put those into the 3-in-1 Cash Flow Calculator.
These totally volatile times cause a lot of opinions and fears to be swirling around. Seeing "what if...?" can be very helpful.
All in just minutes. On your own.
Still less than $1 a day! 👀