Yes, 2020 is just about over. You might need to read that line again; we’ll wait. Whew. You’ve dealt with a global pandemic, the subsequent weakening of the economy and a tumultuous presidential election. Other than that, it has been a very routine, kinda quiet year.
Having to shut down your business while your customers are in lockdown isn’t something you think about putting in a business plan as a ‘just in case’ line item. And having to contend with government restrictions and crumbling product/service demand will undoubtedly continue well into 2021.
However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel – and for many, it is already shining through. With all the stay-at-home orders in the U.S., many CE categories, including the computer/peripherals, TV and appliance spaces, among others, have actually done quite well. Spending more time using older products at home has had a large percentage of consumers thinking upgrade.
That trend is more about good fortune, so what I’ve been even more excited to see is the industry coming together in the form of programs, virtual events and simply reaching out to one another to help everyone get through this mess. Here are just a couple of the initiatives I’m referring to:
The National Retail Federation (NRF) has been a beacon for all of retail during the pandemic, and their Operation Open Doors is simply further proof of this. This digital initiative provides guidelines and resources to help retailers safely navigate operating in the “new normal” with a focus on health and safety, people and personnel, logistics and supply chain, and litigation and liability. Since March, NRF has hosted 250+ calls and webinars to keep retailers up to date on health guidelines and regulation.
And CE industry retail stalwarts such as Nationwide have also answered the call on several fronts this year. Nothing is more important today than Big Data, and Nationwide’s PriMetrix platform is directing their members to get more out of the POS data the platform gathers. Working together with a large segment of their members who supply point-of-sale (POS) data, the group has collected vast amounts of valuable information that can be sliced and analyzed in myriad ways. The result of those efforts is the aforementioned PriMetrix, and any additional edge that can be gained through data such as this is gold during times like these.
As I said, this is merely the tip of the iceberg, as there are many CE organizations/buying groups offering various programs, training classes and the like to help pull CE retail through this. It is one of the many wonderful things about the CE retail space that there are organizations like the aforementioned, as well as CEDIA, HTSA, ProSource, Azione, NATM, HTSN and others that exist solely to help their member retailers through difficult times, such as what has occurred in 2020 (did I mention it’s almost over?).