By Alan Wolf, YSN

Given the kind of year we’ve had, we’re sure you’ll forgive us for fast-forwarding 12 months to November 2021.

Well, here we are, at the start of the 2021 holiday selling season. My how things have changed in a year.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of scientists and brave volunteers, the vaccines have nearly vanquished the coronavirus. We finally ditched our face masks, sent the kids back to school, and can safely gather again for Thanksgiving. (Did we mention that the kids went back to school??)

From a business perspective, the ripple effect has been profound: the factories and docks are humming, store traffic is returning, and we’re finally caught up on all our back orders.

True, demand is less frantic than last year, but sales have returned to a healthy mean and we can actually plan out our holiday business once again. Thankfully, a top industry takeaway from 2020’s supply-chain snafus is that profit-choking promotions are not a prerequisite for sales growth. While the Black November discounts are back this holiday season, they’re way more rational and controlled than in previous fourth quarters.

Another trend that carried over from 2020 is the shift to online shopping. As AVB CEO Jim Ristow correctly predicted at last year’s industry-first Virtual Convention, the e-commerce crush continued well past COVID and carries a momentum all its own. Fortunately for BrandSource members, AVB has long taken the lead in helping independent dealers cross the digital divide, going back to the launch of a pioneering mobile app at the 2011 Convention.

Since then, AVB has built a state-of-the-art digital marketing machine that rivals anything the box stores have. Thanks to the foresight of the Senior Leadership Team and the BrandSource board (and with a nod to hockey great Wayne Gretzky), members can skate to where the puck is going rather than where it was — and reaped the benefits of a world-class e-commerce platform when the pandemic drove record volume online.

So now that the “new normal” and the “old normal” have melded into an even better just plain normal, and we’re all getting on with our lives and livelihoods again, allow us, regardless of the year, a holiday wish to the extended BrandSource family:

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a good night.

BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, mattress, furniture and CE dealers.