Tag Archives: covid

 The Rumors of Retail’s Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated – Who Will Win, Who Will Lose?

A new poll conducted by Chain Store Age asked about the best customer service retailers across 160 retail sectors.  The survey was based on more than 20,000 customers who have made purchases, used services, or researched data about the company from 2017 to 2020.

The Top 3 made me laugh because… well, look at who they are:

 

  1. Disney Cruise Lines
  2. Neiman Marcus
  3. The Ritz-Carlton

These top three companies are high-end with customers residing in the top income tiers.  Besides the irony of Cruise lines in the age of Covid, a department store that recently declared bankruptcy, and a hotel chain when few are traveling, one of the most important customer service behaviors of these examples includes treating customers well.

The other seven retailers noted below in rank order, appeal to a broad demographic, several in the mid-market category:

  1. Edward Jones
  2. Chick-fil-A
  3. L. Bean
  4. National Storage Affiliates
  5. Embassy Suites
  6. Publix
  7. Beau Coup (Wedding, Baby Shower and other “Significant Event” Party Favors)

While we understand that many businesses in the middle to moderate income space equate cheaper prices with less sales associates and very little customer service, that won’t work in these very competitive retail times.

As an example of doing it right, number 1, Disney, began calling their customers “guests” early on in their corporate culture.  The difference between a guest and a customer is clearly shown in the simple definition of the two words:

  • A customer is a person or organization that buys goods or services from a store or business.
  • A guest is a person who is invited to visit the home of or take part in a function organized by another.

When #2 ranked Neiman shook up its executive suite in 2019, Scott Emmons, who led the company’s “Innovation Lab” wrote as a parting statement:  “…we know that retailers are far from delivering what they must to guard against doomsday scenarios for physical stores.  After 16 years working for a top luxury retailer, I can say with confidence that traditional players in the US and abroad are not innovating the right way.  Processes are broken, execution is too slow, politics stalls decision-making and resources are too scarce.”

Retail is a microcosm of the culture it lives in.  One of the first steps in solving a problem is to recognize there is a problem!  The wrong way to be a stellar retailer I liken to Trump, who’s following has fallen precipitously in recent weeks. To be successful, retailers must aspire to be good enough for the majority of the population who now demand to be treated well, whether shopping at a Walmart or at a Sur La Tab.  These consumers are driving the future of retail, and on a larger scale, the future of the United States!  As we begin to thaw from the current months of lockdown and America returns to stores, restaurants, museums, and travel, the CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE will determine the winners and losers at the full spectrum of retail.  And while many of our favorite brands may not be left standing, those who continue to sharpen their “experience” skills will come out on top.

Do you agree or do you believe out-of-home shopping is gone forever?  Let us know your assessment.  We always love to hear your view!

 

 

Some Bright Spots on the Jobs Horizon

While we’re all at home doing a bit of R&R and obsessively watching the news (oh, maybe that’s just me) for any glimmer of hope, I found some good news.  While the GDP shrank by 4.8% in the first quarter of 2020 and unemployment nationally is upward of 16%, there is plenty to worry about. 

But some companies are expanding and hiring like mad! These are the frontline businesses that need to ramp up workers to meet the short-term growing demand for their products and services, according to a report by Linkedin.    Here is a list of some of these growing companies:

Upwards of 51,000 Employees 

25,000 to 50,000 Employees 

  • CVS Health is hiring 50,000 employees to serve in various capacities across its business.
  • Dollar General says it’s looking to add 50,000 employees by the end of April.
  • Walmart is hiring 50,000 workers for its distribution and fulfillment centers.
  • FedEx is hiring 35,000 people for essential roles.
  • Allied Universal is hiring more than 30,000 people for open positions.
  • Ace Hardware is hiring 30,000 people to work in its stores nationwide.
  • Pizza Hut is hiring 30,000 permanent employees to serve as drivers, shift leaders, cooks and managers.
  • Lowe’s is hiring 30,000 employees
  • Dollar Tree, which is also the parent company of Family Dollar, is hiring 25,000 workers for its stores and distribution centers.
  • Walgreens is hiring 25,000 employees for permanent and temporary roles.

10,000 to 20,000 Employees 

400 to  9,999 employees 

  •  Office Depot is hiring up to 8,000 people to be seasonal retail        associates.
  • PepsiCo says it plans to hire 6,000 employees over the coming months.
  • AdventHealth is hiring more than 5,000 people to fill open roles.
  • TNG Retail Services is looking to hire 5,000 people for hourly roles.
  • Amwell is hiring people to fill 5,000 positions across the country.
  • Nestle USA is hiring more than 5,000 people.
  • Lockheed Martin is hiring more than 5,000 people to fill open positions.
  • Tractor Supply Company is hiring more than 5,000 people at its stores and distribution centers.
  • Rite Aid is hiring 5,000 people to work in their stores and distribution centers.
  • Big Lots is hiring 5,000 people to help meet increased demand.
  • Outschool is looking to hire 5,000 teachers to start offering online classes.
  • Providence St Josephs is hiring people for more than 3,000 positions.
  • Bon Secours Mercy Health is hiring nearly 3,000 people for open positions.
  • United Wholesale Mortgage plans to hire 2,500 people over the coming months.
  • Addus HomeCare is hiring people for 2,400 open roles.
  • CommonSpirit Health is hiring for more than 2,200 positions.
  • Mercy is seeking to hire more than 2,000 co-workers for essential health care roles.
  • Fidelity Investments plans to hire 2,000 people to fill roles, including financial consultants, licensed representatives and customer service representatives.
  • Salesforce is hiring for more than 2,000 positions.
  • Love’s Travel Centers and Country Stores is hiring more than 2,000 people to meet demand.
  • IQVIA is hiring for more than 2,000 roles.
  • Takeda, a large pharmaceutical company, is hiring for 2,000 positions.
  • Mercy Health is hiring nearly 1,900 people for open positions.
  • L3 Harris is hiring more than 1,800 people for open roles.
  • BAYADA Home Health Care is hiring more than 1,5000 people.
  • Trillium Health Partners are hiring 1,500 people for open positions.
  • Capital One is hiring for more than 1,300 roles across the U.S.
  • UCHealth is hiring people to fill more than 1,200 positions.
  • Bon Secours is hiring nearly 1,100 people for open positions.
  • Aveanna Healthcare is hiring more than 1,000 people for open roles.
  • Pruitt Health is hiring people for more than 1,000 roles.
  • Parsons Corporation is hiring more than 1,000 people for open positions.
  • Tetra Tech is hiring people in North America for 1,000 roles.
  • Better.com is hiring 1,000 employees — with a focus on hospitality employees.
  • Success Academy Charter Schools plan to fill about 1,000 full-time positions in New York City.
  • Publix Super Markets is hiring “thousands” of workers to meet increased demand.
  • Safeway is hiring thousands of workers due to the demand created by the virus.
  • Shipt is hiring “thousands” of people across the country.
  • CHRISTUS Health is hiring more than 1,000 people for open positions.
  • Regions Bank is hiring more than 900 people for open roles.
  • Philips is hiring roughly 900 people for open positions globally.
  • Ball Aerospace is hiring to fill more than 800 positions.
  • Veeva Systems is hiring people for more than 800 positions.
  • Fifth Third Bank is hiring nearly 750 people for open positions.
  • MUFG is hiring 700 people for open positions.
  • KLA is hiring workers for 700 roles.
  • Electronic Arts is hiring people to fill more than 700 roles.
  • Autodesk is looking to hire nearly 700 people for open roles.
  • Apple is hiring people for 600 roles in the U.S.
  • GoHealth is hiring 600 people for open positions.
  • Fortive is hiring 500 people for open roles.
  • New York City is hiring people for 500 non-clinical positions.
  • The CDC Foundation is hiring up to 500 people for open positions.
  • FactSet is hiring people for nearly 500 positions.
  • FirstGroup America is hiring people for 475 jobs.
  • Corizon Health is hiring more than 400 people for open roles.
  • Western Governors University is hiring more than 400 people.
  • Liberty Mutual is looking to hire more than 400 people to fill open roles.
  • DocuSign is hiring people for over 400 positions.
  • CommScope is hiring 400 people for open positions.
  • Fannie Mae is hiring 400 people for open roles.

Other Businesses that are expanding:

  • GHA Technologies
  • Cargill
  • Koch Industries
  • ServiceNow
  • The U.S. Census
  • BJ’s Wholesale Club
  • Blue Apron is looking to hire in New Jersey and California.
  • Land O’Lakes is looking to hire to meet increased demand.
  • Support.com is hiring a for remote positions.

These businesses are essential  retailers or those with strong cloud formats They include drug stores; other “Essential Retailers” (especially those that offer cheap good such as Dollar Tree), and businesses that can conduct all business remotely.

Will these firms continue their growth for the long term, or are they merely meeting new demand generated by the COVID-19 pandemic?  That’s the big question! Let us know your thoughts?  We love hearing from you!

 

 

What Will the World Look like in 2025? Five Things to Know for the Future

 

It’s a question on everyone’s mind.  In times of uncertainty, we look to the past, we look to the future, because we just can’t understand what’s going on right now!

In my world (and probably yours), I am working digitally.  That’s nothing new for me.  But right now, I have a profound sense of loneliness.  I miss the sights and sounds of movies, shopping, visiting with my grandkids, even going to doctor’s appointments!  I miss the gym (well maybe not too much) and I miss going out to dinner!!

In these quiet moments, I’ve been thinking about how our world will change in the next five years.  Here are five of my predictions about what we will be doing and how we will be doing it in 2025.

  1. People have short memories. That’s a good thing.  If it were not so, no one would ever have a second child!  One of my major prognostications is that the gathering spots all over the nation will be teeming with people and activity.  But it will be different.  Visitors will “keep their distance”, be more polite, and leave space for their fellows both in front and back.  This new behavior will change necessary planning factors for public assembly.  Our current “order-of-magnitude” space requirements for various entertainment and attraction venues – theme parks, movies, museums, convention/conference centers and retail spaces – are all planned this way.  We will need new numbers, and that will put pressure on the size of many of our social institutions and facilities.  This will make them bigger, and thus likely more expensive to build.

 

  1. Consumers will pivot spending from big ticket items to more affordable choices.  Theme parks and cinemas are considered recession-proof.  That’s not true, but they are much more sustainable than expensive cars, hotels, high-priced vacations and restaurants during and after a recession.

As a corollary, Millennials who are the darlings of advertisers and the future of our country’s spending, will keep on the same consumption track, preferring experiences to things. But the experiences will be closer to home and without as much adventure as before.

These Millennial consumers are:

    •  Born between 1980 – 1994
    • Number 72 Million
    • Ages: 25-39
    • Forming Families Now
    • 29% of Adults in the U.S.
    • Ethnically Diverse
    • Tech Savvy
    • Multi-Taskers
    • Prefer Experiences to Things (So important to keep in mind for retailers!)
    • Prefer Health to Wealth
    • Prefer Mobile/Digital Communication
    • Responsible for $14 billion in consumption expenditure

More fascinating though is the amount spent by Generation X, those consumers born from 1965 to 1980, and aged 40 to 55.  These are the most prolific spenders, accounting for $24 billion in annual expenditure.  Why we aren’t planning for and paying more attention to these mid-life consumers is beyond my understanding!  (In fact, a comparison of the average annual expenditure on Entertainment by cohort shows GenXers spending $3,231 per household, followed by Boomers at $3,286 per household and finally the younger Millennial Generation at $2,186 per household.  Average for the nation is about $2,800.)

These expenditures will likely be at the same in 2025 as they are today.  But smart owners and developers will target the groups that spend the most.

  1. New entertainment-infused projects that continue planning and development during this relatively short period of confinement will come out on top. These projects will be first to market.  If planners/owners develop well thought out, well designed, well executed projects with rational business plans, they will reap the benefits of a surge in demand immediately following the downturn and thereafter.

 

  1. Cultural entities such as museums and live theaters will present content that is relevant, easily understood and fundable. They will likely lag behind the uptick in commercial entertainment activity.  This is because spending for nonprofit activities are seen as more discretionary than other forms of entertainment.  In fact, for the past 20 years, expenditures on cultural attractions have been slipping. Why?  Baby Boomer parents did not do a good job of educating their children on the value of theater and art.  That’s the number one factor in propensity to spend on the arts:  exposure as a child.  Our institutions will reflect the society and cultural needs of a diverse population.  Many of our older institutions were born in a homogeneous America that no longer exists.

 

  1. We will return to a simpler time, albeit with sophisticated tech all around us. Everything old will become new. Consumption of just plain fun with some silliness will be the norm!

While living abroad for a year, I experienced this uncomplicated world that offered          simpler and enduring fun.

I went to the mountains with my friends:

I attended Oktoberfest in Munich:

I attended  opera at La Scala and the Teatro dell’Opera di Firenze. I went to formal            dances:

And I lightened up, became a kid again, upped my joie de vivre:

What are your thoughts about the world after Covid-19?  Write us and let us know.  We want to keep connecting with our friends during this time.