We’ve been here before. In early 2020, uncertainty was the word of the day, with the brief but serious recession induced by the pandemic and social distancing measures all over the globe. Somehow, things quickly rebounded and shoppers kept spending—albeit on things like home gym equipment and casual clothing until lockdowns eased. When that happened, people were eager to dine out and travel safely again.
Today, the general vibe is different but similar to the aftermath timeframe of mid- 2020. Our retail and retail real estate clients are optimistic...but concerned. Many don’t know how today’s economic climate will continue to impact consumer buying. Inflation has been a big story for a while now, and there are other factors at play too. Student loan repayments restart in October 2023 after being on pause since March 2020. Interest rates are still high. And although retail sales have been stronger than expected for many brands, it’s hard to predict whether that will continue to be the case.
Planning ahead: easier said than done
As a retail chain, this makes it difficult for you as well. How do you go forward confidently when the customers you serve aren’t necessarily confident? Here are a few tips that can help you keep moving forward:
Take advantage of the current commercial real estate climate.
If you have remained strong these last few years and have been planning to open or build locations, make sure you’re taking advantage of surplus retail real estate opportunities. That vacant big box store is certainly an opportunity, but have you thoroughly evaluated the site to ensure it fits your criteria and will be a winner location? Retail store analytics will help you determine whether you should make a move to take advantage of the situation. You’ll need to make sure you’re using quality tools and predictive analysis, of course.
Listen to your customers.
If the pandemic proved anything, it is that paying attention to your customers’ needs is so very important. How can you adapt your business to ensure your customers remain loyal? Re-calculate your trade areas to determine whether there are ways to capture more customers too. Continue to listen to and analyze your customers.
Pay attention to your competitors.
Just as you should work to understand your customers, you need to put in the same homework on studying your competitors. What steps are they taking right now to get ahead? Are they falling short in certain areas like customer service where you could set yourself apart?
Be creative and smart.
Uncertain times truly do call for unique strategies and creativity. When the customers you serve seem uncertain, however, it is easy to panic. However, history has shown us and every business out there that doing nothing is not a great strategy. While some remain stuck in indecision, others are doing deep, data-driven market research, planning ahead and poising themselves to emerge from the current climate successful.
The more you plan ahead and research your market, customers and competitors now, the better positioned you will be.
Research and plan as you look toward the future.
Market planning and site selection tools like SiteSeer can help you with all of the above and much more:
- You’ll be able to get the most current and accurate understanding of the health of a market and choose sites based on data, not gut feel.
- You can use Model Builder to create site scorecards that help you screen new locations and see those locations as hotspots on a map.
- With your existing locations, you’ll be able to understand your customers and their needs and habits and thoroughly analyze your competition using our competitive assessment tool that’s built right into the platform. With this you can get a true sense of how they might or might not affect each of your locations.
SiteSeer can help
Our retail site selection software is easy to use and very powerful—much different from other site selection software platforms out there. Let’s discuss your challenges and goals, so we can show you how SiteSeer can help you most.
Call us at 866-524-2804, or schedule a demo now.