With Any New Challenge Comes Opportunity
Just when it seemed that the retail housewares business was doing well once again, we suffer another temporary set back. As devastating that it must seem initially, especially since it changed the way we live almost overnight, and slowed business to a standstill, I feel we will overcome these difficulties in less time that past events. Since I started our digital media business in 2000 in the height of the internet boom, we have suffered the effects of the unfortunate events of 9/11 and the devastating mortgage crisis. Both of the previous events seemed to change life and business significantly, and caused the country to adjust and find a new path forward over a period of years.
The current world pandemic will certainly present short-term economic challenges due to store closings and lost business, but it may also permanently alter consumer habits and buying behavior that will have interesting ramifications for future business. Will Americans, whom recently have been cooking 3 meals a day, seven days a week, rediscover the joy and satisfaction that comes with creating a home-cooked meal for the family? Will those whom previously went to the grocery store several times a week (such as myself), and were forced to recently figure out how to buy groceries on-line, decide to continue to do so? Retail food is experiencing a surge in demand that can be negatively felt by the restaurants that have been forced to temporarily close their businesses. What will happen when the restaurants open again? Will business return to the level it was before, or will Americans eat out less and cook at home more? The home isolation will give many Americans the opportunity to reflect on their lives, and may lead to new ways of thinking and living.
I have used the current situation as an opportunity to undertake more advanced cooking challenges like making fresh pasta, rolling it into sheets, and creating ravioli. Our family is certainly baking more than we had before too. Judging from the difficulty of getting flour and dry yeast at the grocery store, I think we are not alone. The gadgets and machines have been coming out of my personal storage, and are being used with new regularity, helping me rediscover all of the fun I can have in my kitchen if I have the right equipment. Am I the only one spending more time in the kitchen, or will we see a surge in housewares sales as a result of our renewed interest in cooking?
It will be interesting to see when the home isolation is over if we go back to the way things were, or find that some of our ways of living have changed permanently. With any challenge there also comes opportunity. Opportunity to think differently, and create new businesses or new ways of doing business that are aimed at satisfying new and interesting shifts in demand. Right now is a great time to think about your business, and what you can do to improve. Think about ways to attract the next generation of consumers, and adjust your operations to appeal to the way they make decisions and shop. If you take a moment to try and anticipate the changes in demand and new demand that will come as a result of this crisis, you will be better prepared to position your business for future success.