Since March 2, 2020, The ROI's Co-Founders have been offering insights, strategic approaches, and online resources for independent retailers affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
These appeared first in The ROI NEWS.
As more stores are able to reopen, and more shoppers are willing to emerge, what will they encounter?
Not only are stores chocked full of merchandise that needs to be liquidated, but so it is with their wholesalers and vendors. Meanwhile, of course, the prevalence of store-closing sales only compounds the volume of discounted merchandise that will be available as shoppers begin to return to stores. It only adds to the glut.
And now, CNBC reports that Amazon is planning to host a "Fashion Summer Sale Event" starting June 22, "expected to run anywhere from seven to 10 days long."**
Amazon stated that this event "will include seasonally-relevant deals from both established and smaller fashion brands." Participating merchants –"by invitation only" – must offer items "with a discount of at least 30%."
Whether you sell apparel, or hard goods, or tires, or whatever, this summer will be a fire sale like never before.
In this environment, markdowns aren't enough. In addition to your markdowns,your "theatre of retail" skills are needed. Here are a few ideas.
Do whatever it takes to make it fun! Make it special! Turn your glut inventory into cash asap.
* "Shoppers Can Expect a Season of Store Sales", Aisha Al-Muslim, The Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2020.
** "Amazon plans summer sale for June 22 to 'jumpstart sales' after coronavirus crunch." Annie Palmer, CNBC, June 2, 2020.
*** Demand for Tents Expands, Julie Wernau, The Wall Street Journal, June 8, 2020.
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 your stores are able to re-open after the coronavirus shutdowns, how they look tells a powerful story. And for you, a great opportunity.
This is no time to try to go back to normal, back to business-as-usual. Nor to simply have all kinds of protective shields in your store. While necessary, how welcoming is that?
Instead, this actually IS a second chance to make a good first impression! Take full advantage!
Alas, there is really no way to avoid discussing COVID-19, the coronavirus that began in China last month, and now continues to spread throughout the world.
No matter whether or when it is officially declared a "pandemic," the uncertainty and angst that it is generating have troubling implications for retailers.
Yes, we know. Owning a retail business these days is one flexibility test after another. And there are no one-size-fits-all solutions.
In the United States, one of the most widespread impacts of the virus is uncertainty. With no end in sight. It is the virus that is in charge. As the president of Alaska Airlines noted, "We don't know what the future looks like."*
But the fact remains, whomever is selling to the ultimate consumer has leverage. Might that be you?
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.
Each of us, our households, businesses and communities are in different stages of shutdown due to the coronavirus.
While we cannot speak to when this will end, we do have some ideas for dealing with the "fog of uncertainty" that hangs over us all.
Since 1999, empowering retailers and store owners to "Turn on your financial headlights!"