Looking back, planning forward!
If you’re a retailer that has faced the challenges of Covid and remained in business you’re a survivor. Now that you have weathered the critical part of the retail calendar which for many independent stores determines their annual profit it’s time to access what went right and wrong in 2021 and plan for a better 2022. Retailers of all sizes are facing unique challenges, supply chain problems, staffing and lingering effects of Covid and its variants. The analysis of the holiday season for both in-store on on-line selling were both positive. An interesting fact in the data is that margins were up. Retailers were less aggressive in discounting this year. This may give retailers a chance to end the seasonal discounting frenzy that has been a race to the bottom and put a strain on margins. So now that the season is over take a deep breath let’s discuss what’s next. The first thing is access what you got right and got wrong during the holiday season. I think the most critical factor is to look how you met customer’s expectations for BOPIS ( Buy online pick up in store). This is my check list for retailers post holiday assessment an exercise you and your staff should go through every year.
- Debrief with your staff what went right and what needs to be improved for next year
- Evaluate all fixed costs, insurance, technology support and even rent. It’s a tenants market for rent negotiations.
- Credit Cards costs: This is an often overlooked cost that is somewhat complex to determine your true cost. I’ve been doing an cost analysis for a few of clients and have been able to save them significant money
- Are your store systems sufficient to meet the complexity of BOPIS and digital customer engagement? If not it may be time upgrade or replace your system.
- Can you support digital payment options?
- Are you effectively communicating with customers digitally?
- Cyber Security will continue to be a threat and small to mid-sized businesses are a prime target.
When you started the business you had a vision and a goal. Have you meet those expectations or do you need to revisit those and adjust as needed. No business remains static, constant evaluation and adjustments are critical to survival and growth.