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Getting Ready for 2021 by The Retail Smart Guys

Updated: Jan 25, 2021

Here's some info that we think will help you for this month, and into next year!


  • Private Label continues to do well for our clients: We've had several that have developed their own label during the pandemic, and it has produced great results. It's easier now than you think, and could be a great driver of success for your store. Ask us about it.

  • In Apparel, casual and athleisure still rule: Next year, we do think that dressier looks will explode as the vaccine gets out there and things loosen up. For now, casual apparel and athleisure continue to sell well.

  • Gift and Home Decor also doing well: If we're going to have to stay closer to home for a little while longer, I guess we need to decorate. That's working well at retail, so sprinkle in some great new gift and home decor merchandise.

MARKETING - What is working!

  • If you are not great at social media, either study it or get someone to help. I don't mean, "are you good?", I mean "are you GREAT?"! If not, talk to us about some great resources. Now is the time to really perfect your posts, your strategy, and your online events. We've seen how people have developed incredible marketing here, and we see how it drives business.

  • After Christmas Sale: This year, more than any other year, gift cards are the most popular gift, especially since people are not traveling to spend time with friends and family. That means there will be a lot of cash on the street, and you want to get your share of it. We highly recommend an after Christmas "Get What You Really Wanted" sale.

  • Charity events still doing well: We see many stores that have had great sales if the sale and the event are linked to local charities (has to be local to be effective!). It's even more effective than discounting. Partner with some local charities and create meaningful events!


  • First quarter vs. the rest of the year: We are a little concerned about January sales, because there won't be a holiday to drive business. Make sure that you are watching your inventory right now, and planning where you'll end the season.

  • Plan for faster turns, faster markdowns: If the first quarter is slow, the best answer is to keep your inventories as lean and mean as you can. We are planning faster turns, quicker markdowns to get out of non-performers, and 100% focused on cash flow. Planning your business is our signature product, so let us help you do that.

  • There will be pent up demand: Who do you know who isn't itching to get back to a more normal way of life? We anticipate that late first quarter, or early second quarter, things will get back to normal. At that moment, people are going to be racing back out to shop, dine in restaurants, and attend events. So you need to plan for that, too! Start thinking about what your merchandise mix should be for March and April now, and line up the vendors!

  • And while we're talking about vendors: Many of our clients are telling us that the vendors that they were working with are having trouble shipping, and still others are telling us that some of the vendors have changed their model and are going 100% direct to consumer. This is a time to reconsider your vendor mix, look for new ones, and write to the ones that you have always wanted in your store. Your vendor mix is likely to change in 2021.


We are working on some new services that will help you do the things you are already doing, but we'll offer them at lower fees than what you are paying for today. Watch for our announcements after the first of the year.


We are looking forward to a much better 2021, just like everyone else. We think there are great opportunities ahead for those that plan for it, and partner with us to make miracles happen. No matter what, we are always here, and always ready to help, so please reach out.

Until then, we hope that you and you families, friends, co-workers, and everyone in your life has a safe, happy, healthy, and wonderful holiday, and a truly remarkable 2021!

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