NRF Proves Retailers Are Still Moving Forward
January 16, 2009
Time to decompress from this year's annual NRF Show in New York City. I'm pleased to announce that the show was relatively well attended. While traffic was down (although not nearly as bad as predicted), the quality was definitely up. I guess if you paid to attend NRF in New York this January, in this economic climate… you had a reason to be there.
As everyone knows, the predictions for the immediate future are not great. Store closings, bankruptcies, liquidations, restructuring and complete mall shut downs are a reality of our immediate future.
Buried within the bad news, however, there are some highlights remaining. Store openings are down but not out. Quick ROI projects are still going forward; and I ran into a few retailers bold enough to be doing complete store rollouts including software and new POS this year!
In all of it, there is one common theme we can all share. As a retailer, your pains will increase, you'll have fewer resources to address them and you'll have little or no budget. This is a dangerous recipe and, the reality we are all faced with.
I can't think of a more critical time to be innovative, resourceful and most of all, positive. Challenge all of your co-workers to “think out of the box.” Nothing should be un-touchable and most importantly, address the future in a different manner than we know. Remember, when you are looking to address problems with little or no budget, you will have to be willing to consider alternatives. Your strategic vendors should be challenged to play a key role in this process. Perhaps no one, in that overall chain is more motivated to find resourceful solutions. While the innovation must be mutual, the consideration to the “way things" are done must be as well.
When retail does come around, it will be changed forever. Those that survive will be the ones that find ways to move forward while protecting the enterprise from a financial standpoint. It will be those that think differently, drive innovation and maximize the right strategic outsourcing relationships that return the perfect mix of flexibility, customization and service.
In closing, I did listen to one presentation where the speaker did predict a modest turn THIS YEAR! It is believed the climate will begin to turn in the second half of this year culminating in a Christmas 2009 that will beat out 2008! Let's cheer to that!
Happy New Year!
John Pruban, President, tekservePOS