We thought it would be a great idea to check in with a couple of retailers to see what has been happening and how they have adapted to the new world. So here it is, some interesting insight from Andre Reich at The Reject Shop and Nikki Yeaman at CostumeBox.
Since this unexpected challenge impacted us, what is the most valuable lesson you have learned in your business?
Andre — The most valuable lesson we have learnt is not to ignore the situation, and to be very open minded to change. First and foremost, our focus has been on our team and our customers and how we navigate the short term together safely. The longer-term approach that has worked well in our business is the process of — 1. Plan for the worst, 2. Learn from the best and 3. Then go for it!
Nikki — That being able to adapt to change quickly and effectively as an organisation is extremely important. To that end, a strong and supportive company culture is vital for the team to have to the cohesion and spirit to navigate through the tough times. Also that great supplier relationships, with trust built up over years on both sides, are vital to helping each other through an economic shock like the one we have just had in the party industry. So while we are all working remotely, and haven’t seen each other in person for many months, strong relationships with staff and suppliers have never mattered more.
What will retail look like post this global event in your opinion?
Andre — Who knows what retail will look like after this; it may easily go back to semi-normal or it may be completely different… we are taking things week-by-week and sticking to our core purpose.
Nikki — Obviously an acceleration of the move towards a greater percentage of transactions happening online. This has already happened this year but I don’t see it going backwards from here. Physical retail will always be important, but I think that strong online offering has to be an essential part of any physical store retail model going forward.
What has surprised you most about your team’s reaction during this disruptive period?
Andre — Optimism and resilience are the words that best describe how our culture has reacted… and it’s these traits that have absolutely got us through the uncertainty.
Nikki — I wasn’t surprised, but I’m impressed every day with our teams’ optimism & resilience.
How do you see the Christmas trading period, which will be upon us very shortly?
Andre — Christmas will totally happen this year; though the shape of how customers will shop December will be largely influenced by the social distancing standards in place across the country this year.
Nikki — Honestly I think its going to be huge. After the year we have all had, I think everyone is going to want to live it up as much as we can and celebrate close to home with loved ones more than ever this year.