Remember thinking that Amazon was the most disruptive force to happen to retailing? (Well, at least since Walmart was the most disruptive....)
However, the coronavirus pandemic eclipses them all. No matter where you live or do business, it is not whether, just when, COVID-19 will impact your life. Disruption with a capital D!
But, retailing has forever been a dynamic industry. Retailers have proven to be resilient through many unpredictable times.
Indeed, that constant change is what attracts many to retailing in the first place.
What also attracts folks to owning a retail business is the opportunity to be their own boss, to be in control.
That's what makes this crisis so demoralizing. Given its dual nature – first, the virus; then, the looming economic repercussions – how can one have any sense of control?
We get that! We do understand.
Just remember, at some point, the COVID-19 virus will subside. In the meantime, unless you are a health care professional or operate a grocery store, you have a precious asset: lead time.
WANT TO REGAIN A SENSE OF CONTROL? USE THAT LEAD TIME!
AND READ ON
Today requires that we summon as much fortitude, resilience and grace as possible. Wise use of lead time makes that much more possible.
And that's where The ROI can help you out. The ROI site is chock full of self-serve resources and tools available precisely for uncertain times.
At the top of your to-take-advantage-of list should be The ROI's 3-in-1 Cash Flow Calculator. Now available for unlimited free access to everybody, it can and should be your new Best Friend!
Go here on The ROI site to get started. Click the "Here's how to get started. Let's go!" button to see step-by-step guidance.
It's a little like skipping ahead to the last chapter of the book to see how things will turn out. It's an important step toward more peace of mind.
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.
As Amazon Prime Day approaches – it is June 21 and 22 this year, the earliest ever for this 48-hour promotional event – retailers from all segments are wondering (or being asked): "So, how do you compete with Amazon?"
Our response? You don't, at least not directly.
Yet independent retailers do have many strategic advantages over Amazon. But you must recognize them, and enhance them at every opportunity. Here are some ideas that you may want to consider.
A frequent recommendation for how to navigate the current economic uncertainty is to be more diligent about controlling expenses, and focus on profit. (You'll see; we challenge that below.)
Hmm. Concentrating on profits is easier said than done in today's environment, with cost increases proliferating under the umbrella of inflation.
Each year at this time, our thoughts turn to turkeys.
No, not the ones that will adorn many dining tables on Thursday. But the "turkeys" lurking amidst your inventory. You know; non-selling, distressed, slow-moving, old, unappealing leftovers among your merchandise.
But this year, frankly, our worries extend beyond the turkeys.
Here are some of the reasons why.
As a result, in this environment, consumers are scaling back their discretionary purchases, and/or choosing to spend on travel, dining out, or other experiences versus retail merchandise.
Not an upbeat prospect for retailers, is it?
ICYMI. You know, that's the shorthand for In Case You Missed It. And in fact, we had missed this.
As reported by Chain Store Age*, "The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index rose slightly to 107.2 in March, up from 105.7 in February. It was the first time the metric has increased in three months."
Wow! Is that ever a stray ray of sunshine! We always look to Consumer Confidence levels as a leading indicator for retailers.
Still less than $1 a day! 👀