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 the global efforts to "flatten the curve" of the coronavirus pandemic continue, there is another curve that is being flattened. That would be the seasonality of retail sales.
And this may prove to be what really defines the New Normal for retailers.
The customary peaks of retail spending have been flattened.
Meanwhile, on a daily level, few people are on the same schedules and routines as before the pandemics arrived. This has contributed to the sense of unease, of uncertainty, the "Every day is a Wednesday" feeling.
What has this meant for retailers? As year-end approaches, what had been a sprint to the finish has become more of a marathon. And in this marathon, in 2020, many participants are walking rather than running.
Yes, this New Normal will be defined by a new pace, a new sense of timing, new routines, new Retail Rhythms. The whole notion of what constitutes "retail time" and retail seasons has changed.
We don't know yet what it will all mean. But we do know there is no going back to how things used to be, no turning back of the clock.
Emerging from 2020 into these new Retail Rhythms will be exceedingly challenging for retailers.
But as always, the greatest asset available is "lead time." That's why we're calling your attention to it now.
Amidst this flattening of seasons, how will you define your new Retail Rhythms?
So, say you have re-opened your stores. Then what? Did the customers come back?
Or, were many of those who did show up just there to say "Hello!" And "We missed you!", but not to buy? Sigh.
We are not surprised. And here's why.
Many Americans who can afford to save money – thanks to reduced spending on eating out, vacations, and consumer goods – are playing it safe and hoarding their cash, according to recent research by Gallup/Franklin Templeton.*
And those who currently are saving at least a little money largely plan to keep saving rather than spending in the near term.
For retailers, the uncertainties caused by the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic are unrelenting.
So, what should we do with this additional "found time," waiting for the customers? That's a question we CAN answer!
As you are sorting out how best to reopen, we encourage you to be bold about embracing technology. Not just a POS system upgrade with better e-commerce capability. There's much more that warrants your attention.
There's a whole alphabet of resources out there, already being embraced by many: ML (machine learning); AI (artificial intelligence); AR (augmented reality), QR (Quick Response matrix barcodes). All enabling chatbots, robots, digital displays and much else to become "smarter" and more applicable.
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?
YOUR GOAL: QUICKLY GET TO A FIRST DRAFT.
Face it. Sales are dropping. By how much? For how long? Nobody knows for sure.
But, you can make some assumptions, some educated guesses. Put those into the 3-in-1 Cash Flow Calculator.
These totally volatile times cause a lot of opinions and fears to be swirling around. Seeing "what if...?" can be very helpful.
All in just minutes. On your own.
Since 1999, empowering retailers and store owners to "Turn on your financial headlights!"