4 Ways Retail Businesses Can Navigate the Realities of 2021

2020 was one of the roughest years for many businesses in a long time. Since the Great Recession, most establishments haven’t faced such difficult economic times – and even then, a reduction in sales and business was a better fate than closing doors, which is what many businesses have been forced to do. In particular, retail businesses have taken a huge hit over the past year.

Now that 2021 is upon us, many of these retail businesses are approaching one year of minimized sales and a reduced ability to operate. The end result is a precarious situation for retailers: many brands have already been forced to close down permanently.

With some hope on the horizon, what can retail businesses do to navigate the complexities of the 2021 economy? Below are four tips for retail businesses can that help mitigate the harm of the past year and make it through to better times.

Look Into the New Stimulus Program

While the final details are still being ironed out, a second stimulus appears likely to pass with aid for small businesses in the United States. As with the first stimulus, a Paycheck Protection Program initiative is included with the second stimulus – though the terms are a bit stricter (click here for more details). Nevertheless, the tightening of restrictions is aimed at larger companies that were accused of manipulating the program during the first round of stimulus payments.

This program can help retail businesses that saw their overall sales drop by more than 25 percent during 2020, providing a vital lifeline for retailers.

Take Out a Business Loan

Small business loans are available to companies and have been a godsend throughout 2020. In 2021, these loans will continue to remain relevant to retailers seeking to supplement income during continued lockdowns and economic retreat.

Loan companies such as offer a variety of customized business loans that can help mitigate a reduction in business activity during the early months of 2021. Retailers in particular that can see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel can benefit from such loans until the economy recovers – many analysts believe that by spring, the proliferation of vaccines will restore retail business and the broader economy to normal.

Offer Online Alternatives

Retailers who can effectively reach their local audiences have an opportunity to transition – temporarily or permanently – to online and hybrid shopping experiences in 2021. Some common solutions include offering online ordering and purchase with in-store pickup, as well as complete online ordering with free shipping for orders above a certain amount.

Setting up an online e-commerce platform is easy: with options such as WooCommerce, retailers can easily configure an online store with products in just a couple of hours.

Ask for Help

Depending on your exact situation, retailers may be able to enlist the services of their loyal patrons to stay afloat throughout 2020. Local brick and mortar businesses in particular can benefit from online fundraisers: projects through sites such as Kickstarter have raised millions since the pandemic began for retailers facing closure. As such, asking for help from your community through direct pitches should be an option that’s considered throughout the first months of 2021.

2021 will likely continue to be a rough year for retail business, but there is hope that prosperity will soon return. Local retailers should consider one or more of these four solutions in the interim as methods for navigating the complex economic and social realities that they will face.