Saturday Night Live and Retail

This past week, Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update had this joke. Seth Meyers said, “The Dow Jones Industrial Average broke 10,000 this week. ‘Hooray!’ shouted 15 million unemployed Americans!”

Funny in an ironic way, right?

I am often struck by the tremendous variations in things I read, or opinions I hear, about the current state of the economy. There are those that say we’ve hit the bottom and are bouncing back. Then there are those that say we’re headed for more horribly bad times.

I have also had this experience: I’ve seen articles in Women’s Wear Daily that indicate the economy will cause more retail stores to crash and burn, and the very next day it will report that there are high hopes for Spring.

Makes you wonder what the truth is, doesn’t it? I have therefore come to the following opinion: None of these pundits can offer an opinion that matters to the independent retailer.

Retailers will thrive or fail, not based upon what is written in the newspapers, or what anyone’s opinion is. The level that the Dow Jones hits is also not so much a factor.

The real factors are:

1. Does the retail business have a solid inventory plan, including outstanding forecasting that results in inventory levels that provide balance and flow.

2. A ‘better than expected’ marketing plan that uses all the current technology to effectively reach existing and potential customers.

3. A great staff that engages the customers, makes the store look fresh and new, and understands the value of units per transaction and clientelle-ing to make the best relationships possible.

If all those are in place, the rest of the world can say whatever they want. These retail basics will help people survive.

We are recommending this to all our clients, ensuring that they survive. It really applies to any business.

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