Editor’s Letter: An Alternate (Retail) Route
My commute to the office is a rather straight shot, and considering that I leave early, I tend to miss the morning rush and make pretty good time.
The other morning I was cruising along and saw flashers lighting up the dark. It turns out there was a bad accident and emergency crews were directing traffic down a side road I had never been down before, much less in the dark.
I had a temporary moment of panic.
Anyone who knows me knows that my internal GPS is completely MIA — I am not good at all with directions. If it’s not my normal route and there are no detour signs, you can pretty much expect me to wind up four counties over from where I am needing to go. But I followed the cars in front of me, and long story short, I realized where I was and made it to work no worse for the wear.
Why am I telling you this? Because while my first thought was one of panic, my second thought was a little bit more grounded: At least it wasn’t me in the accident.”
I was inconvenienced, yes, but I wasn’t a victim of some personal misfortune. There were people having a much worse morning than me — namely those in the accident — and the fact that I was stressing over finding an alternate route was actually quite absurd.
But don’t we do that more often than we’d like to admit?
The screaming child in the grocery store, the traffic jam on our way home, an economy that isn’t exactly compatible with a thriving specialty store — a lot of the stress and anxiety we feel comes from the internalization of external events and the feeling that they’re happening directly to us instead of around us.
If we adjust our reaction to one of acceptance instead of resistance and adopt a new way of thinking about them — a detour of sorts — we’re shown that there’s more than one way to move on through the world.
And with ever-present economic uncertainty, successful retailers know they have to adjust to these detours and new way of operating, as resistance just leaves them behind. Changes to products, to pricing and to marketing are necessary to stay relevant and profitable in 2013.
While these changes may first spark up panic, once you accept that it’s something that everyone deals with — not just you and your store — you’re better equipped to move forward.
So with that, I hope the direction you take in 2013 is one of progress, perspective and of course, one of profits as well.