Four Winning Retail Strategies for 2021

I have been meeting and talking to numerous retailers recently.  There is no doubt that the economy and Coronavirus has had a major impact on retail businesses.  Here are four things that I am seeing retailers do across the board.

  1. Reduced hours
  2. Reduced staff
  3. Reduced inventory
  4. Reduced advertising budgets

Four Retail Strategies to Avoid

The retailers that I have talked to have all stated that this has had a limited negative effect on sales.  Let’s explore this strategy.  What the retailers are really saying is that their plan is to be….

  1. Less convenient
  2. Less helpful
  3. Offer less selection
  4. Become less known

Meanwhile, E-Commerce sales are grabbing market share because

  1. It is more convenient
  2. It is constantly being redesigned to be more helpful
  3. It has a limitless selection
  4. It is well known – 80% of US households have an Amazon Prime account that they pay for every month!
Retail Strategies you can leverage to survive the pandemic
Retailers are willingly stepping in front of a firing squad.

This is simply not a winning strategy.  It is an act of pointing a firing squad at your business.  But how about the retailers who are celebrating the fact that sales have not been impacted by these moves.  In fact, in some cases, profits are up.

Good To Great by Jim Collins
Good to Great by Jim Collins

Remember this book.  It was a best seller back in the 90s.

One of the big things taught in this book is the idea of change.  How change is like pushing on a big stone wheel.  Push on the wheel and it barely moves.  Push more and it starts moving.  Continue pushing and it gets spinning.  Once it gets spinning it is easy to keep it moving.

Let’s look at this in reverse.  The big heavy wheel is spinning.  Now you step away from it.  Does it stop.  No, it keeps spinning.  Does it slow?  Not right away.  But it does eventually.  And once that happens….

A customer comes to your store.  Selection is limited.  They don’t find exactly what they want, but they choose something that’s close.  Do they come back?  Do they tell their friends about your amazing store? Or next time do they buy online?

A customer comes by your store and it is closed.  Do they come back later and buy?  Or do they try to find it online before venturing out next time?

A customer comes to your store but can’t find help?  What happens then?

When you stop telling people about your store – you are eventually forgotten.

Would you like a blindfold?

Stephen Semple

Stephen Semple

The Wizard of Strategy
Stephen always sees the world through the eyes of your customers. His Four Strategic Marketing Decisions give you a lens to filter all marketing opportunities. Stephen’s articles and videos highlight the impact of marketing on your small business.