"Retailing dead?" Hardly!
“Retailing” is selling to the ultimate consumer. That is not going away, in spite of the current perception.
What IS (appropriately!) endangered? Deadly retail real estate! Conventional, impersonal, and boring brick-n-mortar stores are deadly.
Savvy merchants are re-imagining their stores as the new “third place”, offering a community separate from home or workplace. Especially in the next 12-15 months, offering a place for enthusiasts of a store’s brand or products will be invaluable.
Many consumers will likely lack discretionary buying power.
But more than ever, they will crave a sense of community. Remote jobs and working from home have only increased this desire.
Whether it’s a pet store, kitchen store, auto parts, hardware, electronics, apparel stores, bookstores, jewelry stores; no matter the merchandise, there are enthusiasts who care about it, and want to be close to it.
What constitutes success?
New metrics will need to be applied to these re-imagined stores. Instead of the old metrics of sales per square foot, or sales per employee, stores now will be treated by suppliers much more like a media platform.
Just like a website, or social media presence, this new generation of brick-n-mortar stores should be evaluated for their advertising and marketing outreach.
How effectively are they positioning and reinforcing the store’s brand?
Do they tell the story?
Are they filling this need?
Are they good “influencers?”
Are they adequately appealing to and bonding with their loyalists?
That customer relationship, that connection, is meaningful for retailer and customer alike. And it is just one of the many changes enlivening retailing today.
"Is retailing dead?" Heck no. In our opinion, it's more alive than ever!
A few years ago we were on a PBS news show about retailing's ups and downs. Several months later, one of us ran into a teacher of one of our kids. That person excitedly mentioned having seen us on TV, saying "I didn't know you knew so much about retailing." (Yep, known just as someone's parent, right?)
But then this very well-educated person said the key thing: "I never knew there was so much to be known about retailing!"
Well, that incident happened a few years ago when retailing was perhaps more understandable, even more predictable. Alas, those days are history! Today, nothing in retailing is quite as understandable or as predictable as before. Or as manageable!
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.
"Buy low. Sell high. Collect early. Pay late."
That's the essence of retailing, right? But now, in the early summer of 2021, retailing more than ever demands a strong dose of good judgment.
It's shouted everywhere: "Look out! The inflation tsunami is coming!"
Yikes! It's buying season for many retailers, and the pressures to buy more, now, at these-low-prices-that-won't-last are mounting. And this is only the beginning.
Think about it. Shoppers, employees, people everywhere today have, in the back of their minds, one defining thought.
No matter where they work, where they shop, where they live, where they travel, where they eat, they always wonder "How safe will I be?"
The definition of a good coach is “That person who makes you do the things you don’t want to do, to become the person you want to be.”
Given that, we would suggest that the pandemic proved to be a great coach for many retailers. So much so, "Coach P" really deserves being recognized as the Coach of the Year!
Think about it. The pandemic forced retailers to do things they had long evaded or delayed (remember “technology laggards?”)
The Retail Owners Institute® has developed a retail strategy for "Inventory Management Going Forward."
As we often do, it was recapped as an unassuming chart (see above) identifying the Five Stages of Merchandise Mix Management, from "Before COVID-19" to the "New Normal?"
Still less than $1 a day! 👀