June 2020 - 34

POHMER ON
and employee use of masks, and make hand sanitation
available on your sales floor.
Changes like these will be further ingrained in our lives
as it's estimated that the only way to gain control over this
virus is by the development and roll out of a vaccine (12-24
months away) or the result of herd immunity resulting
from 70-85% of the population having contracted the virus
(if the virus doesn't mutate, and this will also take a long
time to develop).
Looking Ahead
Some economic forecasters suggest that our pre-COVID
economy was fundamentally strong, so the recession we're
in will quickly rebound as soon as we reopen our businesses
from our stay-at-home mandates instituted to flatten
the curve and mitigate the spread of the virus. However,
if the economy is reopened too quickly and the infection
rate increases as a result of more relaxed social contact
standards, the more restrictive mandates will be reinstated
to re-establish virus control. Add to this the belief that a
second wave of the virus will naturally occur within the
next year, and any economic recovery could be short lived,
causing severe economic hardship on debt-laden businesses
and households.
The recovery will likely come in fits and starts on a local or
regional basis. Rather than a traditional V-shaped recession
recovery, we'd be facing a W-shaped recovery (back to back
recession-recovery-recession-recovery cycle). It will be a
tough period to go through and there will be a shakeout
of the retail marketplace, with the weak performers not
making it through.
Next Steps
So, there's no roadmap to guide you through this
pandemic crisis and recession because we simply don't
know how or when all the contributing elements will
interact and impact outcomes. But there are some things
you should be constantly thinking about as you go through
this journey:
* Stay fluid, agile and move quickly ... things will change, and
you'll need to react fast, with innovation and creativity.
* Listen and learn ... first and foremost to your customer
and how they value what you offer and how they can
access it, so you can adapt to them. And secondly,
to the guidelines issued by the CDC and government
entities, so you can implement them quickly. Safety and
customer service are inseparable!
* Communicate ... let your customers know what you're
doing to ensure their safety and what options you're
offering to serve their needs; keep the communication
current as you make changes.
* Messaging ... plants and flowers are essential for
sustaining quality of life. Make sure your customers
know this, too.
* Update your website ... for some
customers, your website IS your
store! Keep the information current
and inviting, and automate it for online
ordering and contactless pick up/
delivery options.
* Cash flow is king ... protect it with a
passion.
* Re-vision, re-think and re-plan ... with
the rapidity of change today, this
must be a weekly review process.
* Make your employees a priority
... in addition to protecting their
safety, remember to consider what
you are asking them to do as you
make your constant changes. Now,
more than ever, they are the face of
your business and your customer's
experience.
How we as a society " tame " this virus
is dependent on how the American
people and you as a business manage it,
while at the same time protecting your
business. We're counting on (and praying
for!) you to make it happen!
Best wishes and stay safe on your
challenging journey...
Stan Pohmer is president of Pohmer
Consulting Group in Minnetonka, Minn.
He can be reached at spohmer@pohmerconsulting.com
or 612.605.8799.
Circle 115
34 | LAWN & GARDEN RETAILER | JUNE 2020
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June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of June 2020

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