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.
Since Labor Day in the US is the first Monday in September, this year it happens as late as possible. Labor Day will not be celebrated until next Monday, September 7.
Most years, most folks would be perfectly happy to have August stretched out even longer. Ahh, those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, right?
And so, meanwhile, we regard Consumer Confidence as THE key indicator of consumer spending. Just last week, the Conference Board reported that Consumer confidence is at a six year low*. Ouch!
But, was that a surprise to retailers? Not really. Most retailers are well along in coping with these challenges.
For instance, while this year's Back-to-School season was subdued, it did reward those retailers who thoughtfully anticipated how their customers would be adapting to 2020.
And those same trends will be playing out for Holiday 2020 as well.
One of the biggest changes in Holiday purchases will be the reduced spending on "experiences": tickets to concerts or sporting events; ski lift tickets; travel; restaurant gift certificates; etc. For the first time in many years, in 2020 there will be more focus on gift giving of actual items.
We are reminded once again that there are Three Kinds of Retailers.
And once again, it is the independent retailers who predominate in that first group.
Consumer confidence tumbles to new pandemic low after summer viral outbreak. Jeffrey Bartash, Market Watch. August 25, 2020.
As more stores are able to reopen, and more shoppers are willing to emerge, what will they encounter?
A few years ago, during a planning session in our office, we drew a quick diagram on a whiteboard. It showed three shapes.
Out of all of the potential things we could do, which ones truly warrant our time, energy, and resources?
That picture keeps coming to mind as the COVID-19 shutdown orders on retailers of "non-essential" goods are starting to be lifted.
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.
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.
We believe there are not one, but three(!) pandemics occurring simultaneously right now. Of course, the COVID-19 virus elevated the word "pandemic" to a status that identifies even a generation of babies.
But the other two pandemics are equally paralyzing: the nationwide (even worldwide) protests of racial injustice, and the severe unemployment from the economic collapse.
Indeed, three concurrent, worldwide sinkholes. We call it the "pandemic trifecta of 2020."
So, what's an intelligent retailer to think now?!
Here's one idea that we believe can help you have more confidence in your immediate decisions. Think beyond this week and this month.
There are three "pandemics" assailing us at the moment: the coronavirus; the economic collapse; the protests of racial injustice. The three months plus of stay at home restrictions and the shutdowns, and the confluence of these three pandemics has been a heavy burden. And it shows no signs of going away anytime soon.
As the coronavirus continues to spread and surge (Apple re-closing 11 stores they had recently re-opened is a sobering reminder), the uncertainty and anxiety is only being prolonged.
Since 1999, empowering retailers and store owners to "Turn on your financial headlights!"