For the retail industry, 2020 proved to be the best of times and the worst of times. 

Many stores became unfortunate victims of the coronavirus pandemic. 

For those retail industries deemed essential during the pandemic shutdown – grocery, pharmacy, healthcare, home improvement and others, depending on where you live – last year was a boon. According to figures compiled by the North American Hardware and Paint Association (NHPA), the home improvement industry saw a nearly 20% increase in sales over 2019. NHPA has a great webinar – 2020 Market Measure – available on this topic. 

Much of that increase was a direct result of the pandemic. When Americans began working from home, houses suddenly became home offices, home school classrooms, gyms, family entertainment centers, and more. DIY home improvement projects exploded.   

Meanwhile, even as many retail industry businesses large and small struggled, overall retail sales in the first 10 months of 2020 managed to show a nearly 2.5% increase over 2019. This was no doubt buoyed by a roughly 30% increase in e-commerce which became an essential part of all retail stores’ daily sales. 

If 2020 taught retailers anything, it was how important it is to have an effective and dynamic digital presence – internet and in-store inventory and sales tightly linked. When stores are shuttered, for any reason, integrated online and in-store sales can keep them afloat. Programs like buy online pickup in-store (BOPIS), curbside pickup, and local delivery helped a variety of businesses – from restaurants to sporting goods stores – survive the pandemic, too. 

As a retail management technology provider, it’s a message we at Paladin Data Corporation have been sending for 40 years. To get more out of your store this year and to set it up for the future, check out this story in Home Improvement Retailer: 4 Tips to Get More Sales in 2021 


brian bullock