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" *
But friends, the really good news lurks behind the media's reporting.
Here's why. When there's a glut of inventory in the market, what follows is a deluge of markdowns, liquidations, and panic dumping of inventory. That has to happen. That excess inventory is soaking up cash.
Ahh, but apparently not this year.
This year, with inventories in line, it's wise to think fewer (panic) markdowns, and to look for higher margins.
Sounds like fun, doesn't it?! And isn't it about time for good news?!!
* "Retailers Hone Inventory for Holidays", Jinjoo Lee, The Wall Street journal, November 6, 2023.
We hear it over and over. "Good business citizenship" matters to shoppers. Especially for retailers, who are quasi-public figures in their communities. (AND in a goldfish bowl.)
Customers vote with their feet, their wallets, and their hearts, and increasingly choose those retailers who "do the right thing", whether it's how they source product, hire and pay employees, reduce environmental impacts, etc.
There are things that independent retailers do day in and day out, without perhaps even realizing how special they are!
Most retailers we know are "aw shucks" type people. It's charming, but, especially in today's world, your leadership can be a competitive edge! So, why keep it a secret?
Many of you are using social media to promote sales events, new product arrivals, etc. Why stop there?
Social media – and your website – is the perfect place to share examples of the values that drive your business. And face it; those values may be too scarce today. They need to be featured!
According to the calendar, as of March 21, it officially is springtime. No matter what the weather is doing.
Well, it's time to bring the calendar to real life! Spring is really a state of mind! The dark winter has passed. Even the rain is warmer in the spring. And new growth is beginning to sprout; leaves are coming out. It's a wonderful, fresh outlook.
And that of course means it is a wonderful opportunity for retailers to refresh and reenergize their stores.
No matter what merchandise you sell - whether it's tires, apparel, books, housewares, office supplies, whatever - every retailer is in the fashion business.
And that means that your customers are wanting what is new and fresh.You know; "in fashion."
Maybe you've also noticed it. The recent articles about how retailers now have their inventories "more in line" after the glut of excess inventory caused by "supply chain disruption."
Okay. That's good news.
But, what jumps out at us is the frequent reference to "just-in-time" inventory management.
Look, if you can't measure it, you can't manage it. And, if you can't manage something, by definition (and experience!) it is out of control.
There's little that any of us can do to address the public health crisis of the pandemic. Its impact on people and businesses is a widespread and major jolt, akin to the shocks of 9/11 and the 2008-09 economic meltdown.
Even as painful and disruptive as the pandemic is at this moment, we must remind ourselves that it will subside. It's not whether it will subside, just when.
But all of us are going to have to deal with the ensuing economic situation, and its effects on our sales, our customers, our employees.
These are difficult times for us all. Retailing in particular is under enormous stress. Many feel like there are no good choices.
But, there are good decisions. And The ROI is dedicated to helping you be able to make those good decisions for yourself.
As the Holiday Season approaches, finding good help promises to be especially challenging for retailers this year.
Then, we read "10 Things to Know to Get And Keep Retail Jobs," a to-the-point commentary from Bob Phibbs*, who specializes in retail sales training.
Here are his Top Ten recommendations for prospective retail employees:
Another real challenge of 2021 is rearing its head: Whatever you used to do in terms of managing your staff likely will not work this year.
In the aftermath of the pandemics, lockdowns, stimulus payments, low unemployment, and minimum wage increases, finding and keeping good employees is even more daunting for independent retailers.
Still less than $1 a day! 👀