LAS VEGAS—GlobeSt.com was in attendance at the NewMark Merrill Cos. party at the national ICSC conference here in Las Vegas, where we got a chance to chat with the host, president and CEO Sandy Sigal about the retail climate. He got right to the point, explaining that not only is it hard to get labor, but it is having a big impact on customer service. “We are also seeing large issues with supply lines and the start of inflation which seems to be accelerating.”
According to Sigal, all of those issues will require management and support for merchants as well as monitoring of traffic in order to staff appropriately to maximize the customer experience and set expectations for shoppers.
Even with current staffing shortages, according to Michael Sneed, director of retail marketing at Brickell City Centre, “retailers who offer caring, meaningful service will come out on top as shoppers may have to look harder for that perfect gift this year.”
In some ways the changes that were made during the initial lockdown are helping retailers now. “Many companies have prioritized customer safety, store cleanliness and hygiene, and customer experience in ways we had never seen before,” Benjamin Weiner, a managing director at RIPCO said. “The stores that continue to prioritize in this way, such as Best Buy, Target, Chipotle, and Warby Parker, set an example of how to navigate retail in a pandemic.”
Weiner also adds that retailers have learned to anticipate supply chain issues, as many of the issues were seen in the last year, and stock their shelves early with popular products they know will be in demand.
GlobeSt.com also caught up with attendee Vicky Hammond, a principal at Coreland Cos., who said that despite all of the challenges the retail market has seen, it has improved steadily over the past five quarters. Furthermore, it has accelerated the industry’s embrace of new technology. “Retailers across the country have established effective ways to capitalize on brick-and-mortar locations and e-commerce. Assuming supply chain performance continues to improve, strong consumer demand is expected to carry us through 2022.”
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