- One that is getting a lot of publicity is how Target, WalMart, etc. are promoting their “Black Friday “ specials four weeks before Thanksgiving.
Sounds desperate to us, but it is a sign of the times.
For retailers there are two very strong trends happening now through the Holiday Season. And they are remarkably divergent.
What a scenario. Shoppers buying vigorously, retailers joyously raising sales expectations, and many more anxious lenders offering "cash in 24 hours!" to business owners.
Wow! Are these the good times, or what?
Forgive us, but today we're focusing on the "or what?" aspect.
The season of ghosts and goblins and things that go bump in the night is upon us. While Halloween comes and goes, there may be another very unhappy monster haunting retailers this Holiday season. And it is spooky!
What is this monster? It is an unintended consequence of the good faith efforts of many retailers to provide "excellent customer service."
Customer expectations have been raised to heights that may not be fulfilled this year. A grim reality is setting in.
It has begun; the 4th quarter of the year. But sadly, Covid-19, the Delta variant, and now the Alpha variant will have huge influence.
Meanwhile, there is no shortage of opinions and predictions about the economy, whether from Wall Street, the Fed, Capitol Hill, or your buying group or retail trade association.
Amidst all this, we were intrigued by a report that could be of far more value to retailers: results of a monthly survey of consumer concerns.* After all, for retailers, the shopper matters much more than the pundits on the business pages.
Just when it seems we can get to the "New Normal" or the "Next Normal," another disruption comes along.
"There still is so much uncertainty" is the lament, often accompanied by a sigh of weariness. Or resignation. Trying to plan for the Holiday season, or looking ahead to 2022, can seem especially daunting right now.
Occasionally, all of our businesses need to hit "pause;" this is one of those times.
Recognize that thanks to the pandemics, most everything about running your business has changed. Your merchandise mix; your customers; your staff; your competitors; your suppliers; your landlord; your technology; etcetera. Everything!
Consider this: Will this Holiday Season happen in traditional RETAIL Time? Or always-on INTERNET Time? Or, the grinding PANDEMIC Time? Or, some combination of all of it?
What a 90 days it will be!
Think about it. Shoppers, employees, people everywhere today have, in the back of their minds, one defining thought. No matter where they work, where they shop, where they live, where they travel, where they eat, they always wonder "How safe will I be?"
For retailers, the Fog of Uncertainty that began in April 2020 around the pandemics keeps coming back. Just when it appeared that we were ready to "get back to life" if not "back to normal," the Delta variant has surged.
This has created more uncertainty. How willing are your customers to actually go out and shop? Even more important (to you): how willing are YOUR customers to shop with YOU?
So, here's an idea: Why not ask them? Really. Send them a short questionnaire.*