‘Normal’ no longer exists. It’s the truth.  The Year of Agility: No New Normal is the first of a byline series for leading trade outlet, Total Retail, penned by our CMO & Chief People Officer, Sarah Engel, exploring the range of new business models and revenue streams, vastly different marketing mixes, customer expectations evolving faster than businesses can pivot and organizational change that has continued to emerge pre and post-ish pandemic. The course of 2020 has clearly imparted that retailers cannot have a single plan for business success or steadfast assumptions about consumer spending habits.   “If they fail to become nimbler, can’t act decisively, or believe that they are returning to pre-2020 “normalcy,” they simply will not survive, ” said Engel. She goes on to state that the groundwork of tariffs, store closures, shipping constraints, political and social unrest in the years leading up to the global pandemic sped up the way consumers (and the industry) were already transitioning and the shifts businesses need to enact now: “If you look past bankruptcies and store closures, the reality is that the last 13 months of chaos were exactly the forceful hand that was needed to push the retail industry to evolve into what it is meant to be.”  As Engel pointed out, the sheer weight of these factors starkly revealed the areas across retailers’ businesses that were (at best) loosely held together.    Many retailers hustled to meet the customers where they were and tested new strategies that pushed the industry ahead in mere months (as opposed to what would have previously taken years). Yet, while racing to keep up, any lack in their ability to plan dynamically could have left retailers and brands misinformed. “Amid the pandemic-led shifts, consumers continue to expect seamless transactions and engaging experiences that are unlikely to revert to pre-COVID behaviors.  Incremental and foundational shifts will enable retailers to lead with agile-first businesses decisions, affording them the luxury of nimbly combating the unknown for years to come. ”  The reality is that we shouldn’t assume customers’ wants and habits to stay still. Check out the full byline that drives home the industries’ dire necessity for agility and flexibility ahead of the all important holiday shopping season to set themselves up for success in 2022. Make sure to check back over the next few months where Engel will dive into the fundamental areas that businesses need to diversify NOW if they are to realize continued growth beyond their competitors.

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