Like most retailers, we find ourselves in the business of seeing our business through the lean months after the first of the year. Scrambling to make sales, and trying to convince people to buy our stuff after the feeding frenzy of the Holiday season has abated.
It’s particularly true this year, when it seems that with the wheels coming off the economy and everyone holding their collective breath, we retailers find ourselves trying just about anything to capture reluctant customers, who are caught in the headlights of an oncoming recession, and unwilling to spend.
Perhaps it’s time to take a step back and take a look at this from a different perspective. A little consideration when it comes to consuming, and profiting from that consumption is maybe just what we need right now.
About 8 months ago, Nau was living beyond its means. We had to re-examine our actions, scale back our operations and get a grip on our fiscal ambitions. Though quite painful, it was the only thing we could do to survive. To be sustainable.
This economic climate is going to require just such an examination in businesses all across the country. We’re hoping that our actions earlier this year will allow us to operate efficiently enough to survive the coming attrition in the retail marketplace, but we won’t survive on efficiency alone. We need to provide product and service that is substantively better. Because now that people are buying less, they’re going to expect more. They’re going to be sure that what they do buy is going to serve their needs and last them a long time, and they’re going to buy from companies they trust and believe in.
It’s the new value equation- Products with the combination of aesthetic appeal, suitability to task, longevity in style and function with the lowest environmental impact. Businesses that act with transparency and honesty, valuing the relationship over the transaction.
Those companies that live by these criteria will be the ones to survive. And we’ll all be better off for it.
Maybe now, more than ever, it’s time to spread the word- about simplifying your life, about living within your means, and about the act of making considered choices over conspicuous consumption.
It’s time for a new value equation.
Words by Hal Arneson.