- The large rectangle at the top was labeled "What we COULD do" Lots of good ideas deserved a place in this box!
- The much smaller rectangle below it was labeled "What we SHOULD do" Ahh yes, those pesky obligations.
- And finally, at the bottom, was a tiny little square: "What we WILL do!"
A few years ago, during a planning session in our office, we drew a quick diagram on a whiteboard. It showed three shapes.
That picture keeps coming to mind as the COVID-19 shutdown orders on retailers of "non-essential" goods are starting to be lifted.
Independent retailers are renowned for being "technology laggards." Those days have to end!
As you wait and worry about re-opening your stores, the state of the economy, the health and safety of your family and friends and employees, here is an idea of what you might do with some of your found time.
When you do re-open, be sure that you are actually in the 21st Century!
That is, put your energy, your resilience, and your flexibility to use, focusing on improving your IT.
There’s an awareness, an “Oh wow!” sweeping around the commercial world. It’s stated in a variety of ways, but it’s the same surprise.
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly gained the respect of the general public. Surveys continue to show that, while folks are eager to be able to resume moving about, they do not expect to resume their pre-pandemic discretionary shopping and dining activities anytime soon. They are awaiting effective treatments or, even better, a vaccine.
Main Street restauranteurs and retailers understand that, according to survey results reported April 27.* In fact, these owners anticipate it could take another eight months – that is, most of the year – for consumer demand to reach the so-called "New Normal."
Some thoughts from Nordstrom leadership that are spot on!
And what he succinctly stated is exactly the challenge – and opportunity – that is confronting all retail owners.
In order to answer whether you should re-open once you can, you first must be very confident in WHAT kind of retail operation you will be re-opening.
The only certainty of the aftermath of the pandemic is that everything will be different. Given that, what better time to re-imagine your business?
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.
You need a better solution than that.
Retailing is so great. Every retailer is an optimist, a people-person, and a bold risk taker. (We know; we were one.) Every retailer wants to get their stores re-opened, and their staff people re-employed.
Granted, there are many arguments, pro and con, about "Re-Opening the Economy." And in a number of communities in the U.S. and elsewhere, some re-opening of stores and restaurants is occurring.
The Retail Owners Institute® has developed a retail strategy for "Inventory Management Going Forward."
As we often do, it was recapped as an unassuming chart (see below) identifying the Five Stages of Merchandise Mix Management, from "Before COVID-19" to the "New Normal?"