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Are you a retailer that’s going through tough times and looking for ways to tilt the odds of success in your favor? You can’t control the factors that create a tough working environment but you can improve your chances of staying profitable. There is a reason why some retailers thrive during a recession and you can learn a few tricks from them. 

The first step is to shift the company mindset from being a victim to realizing there is a world of opportunity. Challenging times doesn’t always mean that the market is shrinking. It could be transforming and you have to adapt to enjoy consistent results. With the right mindset, you can grow during challenging times while competitors find it difficult to overcome the hurdles. 

Retailers can invest in useful strategies that will help them navigate when the going gets tough. These strategies will remain effective in the long-term, so you should be implementing them regardless of the current economy. 

Invest in apparel management software

Organizing and managing your retail business correctly ensures you can minimize losses in unforeseen circumstances. It’s about spotting parts of your retail business that might result in huge losses if left unchecked. 

Apparel management software provides powerful features that help oversee your retail business. That way you’ll continuously have actionable data that otherwise might take days to accumulate. This guide does a great job of explaining what features are available with apparel management software. It’s a holistic approach to managing your business that tackles all aspects of managing inventory to improve customer service to maximize profits. 

How can you choose the best apparel management software for your retail business? Look for industry-related features that you can utilize. Also, integration with your current software is ideal to avoid having to overhaul your entire system. 

Features to look out for include warehousing, supply chain management, shipping, sales, reporting, production, order processing, inventory management, forecasting, EDI, allocation of resources, administration and accounting. Furthermore, inspect the depth of quality of these features to assess the utility. 

These features improve management by providing leaders with data that’s currently accurate. It helps managers to effectively allocate employees based on the workload. Also, the software completes mundane tasks, which reduces the employee workload with boring-repetitive tasks. 

Don’t be afraid to take risks

Burying your head in the sand and praying that the challenging times will blow over without damaging your retail business isn’t productive. Here is an idea of what actions you could take to ensure your business survives:

  • Pivot product design: you must adapt to the changing market to give your business the best chance of securing sales. For example, during an economic downturn, people may have less money to spend and can no longer justify buying your products. Therefore, you can carefully reduce the manufacturing costs and pass the savings onto the customer. 
  • Employees: the sad truth is that you may need to dramatically reduce employee hours to ensure the business does not go bankrupt. Handle it in an honest manner that keeps employees on your side to avoid morale loss across the board. 
  • Explore new markets: the chaos of an economic recession tends to create new markets. Be one of the first to tap into these and you could grow your business. Focus on how buyer needs are changing. By making small adjustments to existing products you may provide something unique to a new crowd of buyers.

These are just a few of the risky changes to transition through tough times. The point is to avoid being stagnant because it could be the factor that ensures the collapse of your business. In 2020, the worldwide retail market is expected to shrink by 5.7%. However, your retail business may not be a contributor to this negative statistic if you take action. 

Customer-first approach

Keeping your customers happy is not an altruistic notion that should only be an afterthought. It must be the backbone of most business decisions if you want steady sales in all market conditions. Now is the time to implement changes you’ve been putting off that improve the customer buying experience. 

You’ll need loyal customers to remain with your brand until the economy recovers. Double down on customer service, adding value and going the extra distance to make customers happy. For example, if customers want to cancel a subscription, then make it easy for them. They are more likely to subscribe in the future. 

Reduction in customer experience is one of the great sins of sales growth as most retailers know. However, it’s a short-sighted view that will land your business in trouble. You don’t know how long the economic downturn will last and the speed of the recovery rate. Taking a longer-term approach to keep customers happy is the right move. 

After Year-Long Mourning, Retailers Hope to Revive Thai Economy | Global Currents | BoF

Final thoughts

Challenging times are not easy but implementing the right strategies greatly increases your chances of making it through. Proven methods such as investing in apparel management software, exploring new markets and using a customer-first approach will generate results. These are good practices that you can use long after the markets have stabilized. 

Finally, make sure you don’t compromise your core values or basic decency to make it through. You’ll need the loyal support of customers and employees alike. Be honest, open and communicate the challenges your business is facing. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the positive support and understanding.