Did you ever think you would live to see things this crazy in retail?
Many 2020 projections held that the supply chain issues caused by COVID would easily be cleaned up by now.
But they’ve only become much worse than before.
For example, Nike cut its sales projections dramatically after COVID forced factory closures in Vietnam that wiped out months of production.
Bed, Bath, & Beyond’s stock price plunged from a high of $44.19 on June 2nd to $14.53 on October 21st after shipping woes came to light.
The cost of cargo containers has risen 5-10 times over last year’s costs. And thousands of containers lay backed up in port, with product just sitting on them.
And to top it all off, people in countries that supply product to America are losing interest in manufacturing jobs. Chinese youth, understandably and unsurprisingly, would much rather get into tech jobs than work at factories.
If all that’s not enough, ecommerce sales are expected to rise by 35% over last year.
So you have a slew of short and long-term factors causing the mess we find ourselves in. And many retailers think they’ll run out of Christmas product mid-November.
What can you do about all that?
Well, here’s some thoughts:
1. Buy Old, But Still Relevant, Inventory and Increase Your Safety Stock
Any profit is better than no profit at all. Suppliers have consistently said they just cannot fulfill all the orders coming their way.
Maybe you can’t get the latest trending products.
But, maybe you can get product that’s just a little bit old while still not being completely irrelevant.
Look to fill your shelves with the next best thing. It may provide you with the cash you need to make it through the next several months.
And while you’re at it, make sure to go a little deeper than you usually do.
Who knows? Q4 may extend further into January because consumers can’t get what they want in late November and early December.
2. Extend Your Store Hours and Conveniences Offered
Some stores refuse to stay open on Thanksgiving because they know their customers don’t like to see that.
But more than 50% of retail execs surveyed by Today said they plan to be open on Thanksgiving.
Many are also offering every possible method of fulfillment for customers: buy online, curbside pickup, ship from store, and buy in store with home delivery.
Despite all of this, most retailers forecast stronger sales than ever.
You don’t know how this situation will sort itself out.
All you can do is what you can to make the most of it. And hopefully, this ends up being your best Q4 ever.