And The Data Says...

And The Data Says...

One of the things I love (and sometimes hate) about my job is the constant flow of information (aka data) that makes it's way into my mailbox or across my desk. While I personally don't have the patience to execute in-depth research, I'm one of those individuals who love to read the results of other's research, particularly when it's about the business world. Unfortunately, just like everything else, the COVID pandemic has changed the nature of this research and the resulting data that's come from it. But just recently I came across what I would consider some very valuable information that's worth sharing with the community as a whole and it's specifically tied to the holiday shopping season. If you'd like to see the entire study, visit the McKinsey & Company website. There is really a lot of good information on the Powerpoint and it's easy to digest. Below is a sampling of that research that has implications for the Gardner community. 

#1 - Regardless if you are Democrat, Republican, Independent, Libertarian or none of those, masks matter. You can argue all you want about whether they work or not, but the bottom line is they make more people feel safer than not and that impacts the economy. The Chamber exists to help businesses succeed. We encourage all businesses to pay attention to the health and safety of your customers (and staff obviously). And we encourage consumers to do their part and follow the rules and regulations that businesses set forth or are mandated to follow. Data shows that more people will shop or eat in your business if masks are required, social distancing is in place, you provide hand sanitizer, etc. Costco and other major retailers have done the research and understand this, that's why they've been doing this for months. 

#2 - Further data shows that consumers are shopping differently this year. We all know that many are purchasing online more than ever because of the contactless nature. It also shows they are looking for value (and from previous studies things like trying new products, etc.). It also goes without saying that many of us are working hard to shop local and shop small as much as possible. But we still want to feel safe, find good value and procure the gifts/products we're seeking out. Thankfully the businesses I've visited in Gardner are working hard to provide that experience. 

#3 - The last slide I wanted to share is both a bit of bad and good news. On the not so good side, people are still feeling uneasy about the activities they are accustomed to and missing most (eating out, visiting with family, travel, etc.). The positive side of this is that they are eager to get back out and do these things. For me, the positive news over the past week about potential vaccines has only made me more anxious (and excited!). I know it won't happen tomorrow and it might be summer 2021 before we're out of the woods, but the anticipation of traveling, attending a concert or just going about my day without a care in the world is something I look forward to every day. 

The bottom line is there is a lot of good consumer data out there for businesses to utilize to make decisions. Don't settle for what you read on Facebook, hear from your neighbor or extrapolate from the evening news. Do some digging yourself. Your business and the local economy depend on high-quality, factual information. 

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