Coronavirus could force retailers to offer deep discounts for months

Businesses looking to reopen during the pandemic, have more challenges than finding customers comfortable enough to come through the door. One of those problems, though, could be an opportunity for those with the ability to 'buy'.

Simply put: A lot of retailers have too much stuff. They've been closed for weeks or months, loaded with inventory and no one to buy it.

UH Bauer College of Business marketing lecturer, Paul Galvani, says the problem for retailers is a backed-up supply chain that was set in motion long before the pandemic. "The merchandise was that's currently in stores was purchased at least a year ago, before the dynamic changed," says Galvani.

As a result, stores that have been closed are stocked with seasonal merchandise that's got to make way for new inventory that's already been ordered and paid for. A solution, offered by an article in Business Insider, is a 'Black Friday' atmosphere of non-stop sales that could last for months.

"I think the only way that retailers are going to survive, today; and by that, I mean: bring the consumers into the store and start to turn their inventories, so they can get cash, so they can continue their operations, is to severely discount their merchandise, and in some cases, sell it below cost,"  says Galvani.

The trick is luring consumers, who have disposable income and desire to shop, to come to the stores. Retailers, like Kohl's, are promoting their plans to keep customers safe. However, the pandemic closure is also forcing a change on a nation of consumers, who may decide they're 'full', for now...

While there's little confidence in predicting the short term, Galvani envisions a long-term, dramatic shift for how retailers connect with consumers, with fewer stores and a lot more online transactions that don't require we be face-to-face to buy something.