Why this season could be a turning point

This year has been a roller coaster ride at best where the only stability seems to be instability. It seems every time a business owner turns around, a new obstacle looms before them. It seems to have come to the point where this holiday season could end up being a major turning point for many small business owners. Is the road up ahead being plowed or is it still laden with two feet of snow? In an effort to peer into a crystal ball, Forbes has recently released a report with what it believes will be the tide turning trends for the holiday season. The following are excerpts from that published report:

  • It takes upwards of eight months or more to plan and execute the two-month sprint that is the November and December holiday shopping season. Preparation is key for the retail industry, and in 2021 the best strategies include infrastructure and management teams that allow for agility. Facility managers and retailers alike need to adjust to trends and unforeseen events on a week-by-week, and sometimes even minute-by-minute, basis.
  • The emphasis put on the customer experience will never go away. Customer service, customer feedback and meeting customers’ expectations continue to be a focus for retailers. Now, with an ongoing labor shortage, employers are prioritizing an improved employee experience as well.
  • Most consumers are aware of the supply chain challenges impacting many industries due to the pandemic. These trends will impact shopping patterns and likely lead consumers to shop earlier in the upcoming holiday season.

  • Related to early shopping, last year, we saw retailers start to roll out Black Friday deals as early as October due to concerns over large crowds during the height of the pandemic. With the success in the sales numbers and the continuing evolution of consumer behavior, this trend will likely continue in 2021. While retailers should prepare for larger crowds on Friday, Nov. 26, also look for an increase in foot traffic spread over the entire holiday season.
  • A significant reason why brick-and-mortar will remain a vital part of the retail ecosystem is the growing trend of curbside pickup and buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS). The physical store is important in the ever-growing strategy to specialize in omnichannel commerce.
  • Over the course of the pandemic, consumers and employees have assumed a higher level of cleanliness throughout the in-store experience. Achieving a high customer satisfaction score in these areas is important to maintain loyalty to a brand. in Covid-19 numbers as well as further fluctuations in areas such as supply chains, weather and labor, but retail has proven to be a resilient industry.

-Written by Kevin Sawyer