The world is changing every day and we, as businesses, must adapt. Change is traditionally a slow process, however over the last year we have seen it move at a record pace. The pandemic created a necessity for this shift and just earlier this year it appeared that all the modifications people and businesses had gone through were about to come to fruition. Unfortunately, virus variants have become the norm and the pandemic is coming back into focus, especially in certain states. This development has been a deflating feeling for many as it seemed that we had already cleared the storm. However, it appears more likely that we were just sitting in the eye of it as there is still more to come.

The greatest advantage we have this year is our experience with the pandemic. Gone are the days of arguing physical vs. digital storefronts as that fight only mattered in a pre-pandemic world. Most companies need both avenues and they need to strengthen one another. Building an online platform is not a part-time investment; anyone that did is likely facing difficult decisions as COVID-19 cases surge in some states. Conversely, completely ignoring brick-and-mortar storefronts and spaces could be a long-term detriment. It pays dividends to provide an omnichannel experience and the use of physical and digital together makes it easier to adapt.

When trying to adapt we must avoid the complacency that comes with waiting. Back to school (BTS) shopping just came to a close and it is projected to have been much better than last year with the most spending in apparel and electronics. It is great news for multiple industries, yet it also comes with a warning label. BTS shopping has coincided with the return of high COVID-19 cases and it may not be an accurate reflection of how those cases will affect shopping in the future. Supply chain issues have also driven up prices and this will be our first opportunity to see how consumers respond. Even if the BTS sales figures are excellent, it would be a mistake to assume holiday shopping will be the same. Complacency could prevent us from being able to adapt and even a single week can bring significant retail changes.

The restaurant industry has had to acclimate more than most. Local mandates to return to social distancing would likely be a last resort; however, those mandates would be debilitating for business just like they were a year ago. Restaurants are now equipped with that knowledge and they must be ready to react if those changes occur. Customers are slowly returning to restaurants; however, off premise ordering will remain as an important factor.

Chain Store Guide has been through the Great Depression, recessions, and now the pandemic in our 88 years. Through it all, our goal has always been to assist manufacturers, suppliers, retailers, and restaurants by providing the data that directs change and sustains growth. Contact us today to learn more about how your business can adapt in today’s world.