‘Plugging In’ to the Changing Retail Scene

Surmount the uncertainties of the ‘now normal’ at Summit

By Jim Ristow, AVB BrandSource

As 2023 continues to unfold, it will likely pose many new opportunities and challenges for all of us as we settle into a world of unpredictability, or the “now normal.”

In a recent YSN column, our resident economics expert Joe Higgins admitted being perplexed by the current state of the economy, given how difficult it has become to predict what’s coming next. To paraphrase Joe, “In baseball, the rules have been the same for the past 100 years; when you hit a ball to centerfield, you run to first base, not third. Yet this economy no longer follows the long-established rules; they are completely different today than they were just three or four years ago. People are no longer sure which way to run.”

I, like Joe, cannot predict with any certainty what the balance of the year will bring. What I do know with certainty, however, is that the marketplace is indeed changing. Will the consumer revert back to previous shopping levels? Maybe, maybe not. But one thing’s for sure: They will not go back to the way they used to shop.

Consumers are the driving force behind the fast-tracking of the digital shopping revolution. And, spoiler alert, they are not turning back. Therefore, you too need to evolve and meet them where they are — by plugging in to them directly. 

That brings me to the theme of next month’s Summit, “Plug In.” Irrespective of the rules of the new game, you have proven yourselves to be quite capable at winning it. And we are here to help you keep your hard-earned market share gains and stay ahead of the retail pack. All you need to do is plug in to the group’s state-of-the-art digital toolbox. Members who have done so are outpacing their big-box competitors, as well as their fellow members who have yet to leverage the group’s business technology.

While it is impossible to predict exactly what the retail landscape will look like in the coming year, it is certain to be considerably different than it has been. The COVID-induced tidal wave has receded and you must look ahead and formulate a strategy to keep your boat afloat. I encourage you to take action to ensure you will be riding the next wave, rather than being swept away by it!  

The digital team at AVB Marketing, along with our other in-house experts, are ready to discuss a wide range of solutions that fit your business and your market. They are here to help you plug in directly to your customers.  

I am looking forward to seeing you at Summit 2023 in Las Vegas.

Jim Ristow is CEO of YSN publisher AVB BrandSource, the nation’s largest merchandising and marketing co-op for independent appliance, mattress, furniture and CE dealers.

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