A little chaotic, isn't it?
You likely have experienced some of these dilemmas from the customer side. So you know how annoying or unsatisfactory it can be.
But you also are living that dilemma from the retailer's side.
In the "Pandemic Pivot" that happened in 2020, retailers developed, essentially on the fly, totally new ways of doing business.
And guess what? It's only just begun.
The Big Questions now: What takes priority? And WHO takes priority?
The hard truth is, you must decide. Given the variety of customers you have, there is not a "one size fits all" answer.
And then, be ready to adjust! Who knows what Stage III of the Pandemic Pivot will look like?
Just this morning we saw yet another article speculating about the staying power of online shopping, in this instance, grocery shopping.
Of course, it's not just media pundits who are looking for answers to this question about online versus in-store shopping. Retailers are living with this issue, and they have to make decisions.
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.
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."
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.
About a year ago, as the pandemics were beginning to hit their stride, we introduced a framework for retailers to "rethink your merchandise mix."
As depicted in the chart above, we cautioned that once the lockdown was over, as customers resumed shopping, retailers should be prepared for (1) reduced sales totals overall; (2) significantly re-balanced merchandise mixes, initially dominated by "basics/never-outs."
Further, we anticipated that the merchandise mix would continue to change as we re-emerge from the effects of the pandemics. And we urged retailers to take this overall construct and adapt it to their own situation; to develop their own customized strategic response.*
Now, one year later, here's how this can become "news you can use" to quickly produce your Big Picture buying plan. Especially in the spring of 2021, some practical answers to "What to buy?" , "How much?" and "When?" are likely to be very welcome.
Still less than $1 a day! 👀