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What’s the Outlook for Retail Franchises in 2021?

As we gear up for 2021, many retail brands are looking to near-term tailwinds that will help them adapt to consumer needs and continue to successfully operate. While shopping may change from pre-pandemic experiential shopping to more intentional, less frequent shopping trips, consumers are still looking to retailers for necessary goods – making it clear to retail brands that they need to adapt to the needs of consumers.


From the pent-up demand for brick-and-mortar experiences to an essential need for discount retail, here are a few short-term highlights that retailers can look forward to in the New Year.

The Need for a Local Brick-and-Mortar Experience

While the pandemic has created a migration towards ecommerce, it is clear that consumers still prefer the in-person experience. Consumers around the world are eager to return to physical locations, and are much more likely to favor visiting local retail shops rather than travel a further distance for a big-box retailer. Many shoppers will begin to spend more selectively due to current economic uncertainties and a less secure employment market, making it ideal to be a discount or resale retailer within the community.

Finding Ideal Shopping Selections Within the Resale Sector

Due to widespread employment loss and strained budgets, many families have looked to the resale industry to continue to purchase necessary items for their families. Since 1988, Winmark has been offering a variety of resale experiences to communities throughout North America – from our first brand, Play It Again Sports, to our most recent addition, Style Encore.

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While traditional retail brands are at the whims of the economy, resale retailers have the ability to offer quality goods at a better value – making it the clear winner when consumers are looking to get their child a new winter coat or upgrade their music equipment. Along with offering these high-quality used items at an affordable price, resale retailers offer local consumers the ability to sell their items and receive cash back – creating an extra level of community support during economic downturns.

The Importance of Becoming an Omni-Channel Brand

This year, more than ever, has informed retail businesses of the importance of acting as an omni-channel brand. While consumers are eager to go back to shopping in-person at their favorite retailers, they understand the importance of using ecommerce to keep themselves and their families safe and healthy during the pandemic. Being able to connect to consumers through ecommerce and social media, in addition to a traditional brick and mortar store, has proven to be a strong strategy for resiliency through economic downturns.

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Along with adding ecommerce and a social media presence to their repertoire, brick-and-mortar retailers have seen curbside pickup as a lifeline during the pandemic. While curbside pickup did exist previous to COVID-19, its popularity has many retailers making it a permanent offering to consumers.

Heading into 2021, resale retailers like the five brands under the Winmark umbrella have the unique ability to provide solutions to consumers’ needs while helping them stay within their budget – especially during a time of economic uncertainty.

Looking to join a franchise that offers a resiliency through economic challenges? Contact us today to learn more about any of our Winmark brands.