January will not be normal for local Aussie retailers.
January has traditionally played out in different ways for small business retailers in different parts of Australia.
In some parts of the country, retail is usually so slow that many shops close for several weeks. In other parts of the country, towns swell with tourists and trading hours are extended.
What has been consistent about January for small business retail in Australia is that it has been prdictable.
I don’t think January 2021 will play out in a predictable way.
People are not travelling overseas. But, they are motivated to travel, to shake off 2020 and to start 2021 with new memories, from more local travel.
With plenty of annual leave not taken in 2020, I suspect more will start 2021 taking leave.
Businesses will start 2021 earlier than usual, working on new approaches to business, including on-going working from home for some, which will open opportunities locally.
Places that have not seen many tourists over the years are likely to see some. Tourist destinations will fill early, encouraging people to look elsewhere.
In short, the usual January slowdown we have been used to in small business retail in most parts of Australia is less likely in 2021, in my view.
Locals staying local will be looking to embrace optimism about 2021. Local retailers can lean into this, nurture optimism and offer opportunities for engagement with the local community. In our shops we can make January fun and feed into the desire for a good start to the year.
Be ready. Make sure the shop is fresh, that you have new product and that ou provide an entertaining retail experience. Think about your hours. Find ways to leverage the changed situation.
I mention this today so you can plan. January will be different. How it plays for you depends on you.