It’s hard for me to even think that it is the year 2010. It sounds like something from science fiction. Growing up I would have expected 2010 to have people living on the moon, flying to the office on anti-gravity vehicles, growing hydroponics in large scale and so on. But fortunately we can still dream, and dreams are what realities are born from. I would like to hear what your vision of 2010 is… Back yourself up 20 years or more in time and think about it.
OK…So back to the future (or the present). For 2010 the short answer is “more of the same”. But before you get disappointed at that short answer, give me a minute to explain that more of the same is not so bad…
The retail forecast for 2010 that we are basing operations on are +5% over 2009. I have seen estimates as high as 6.6% but they are hard to swallow. Of course this is an overall estimate and certain segments will perform better while others will continue to decline. We think it is all about knowing what your customer wants and being able to deliver it to them.
As I drove into work this morning in the small town of Hendersonville I saw many empty store fronts, vacant buildings and a lot of “For Lease” signs. Were those failures a general sign of the times (yes)? Or did those businesses not offer the products or services that their customers really wanted? For example: There are several small car lots now vacant because the CARMAX lot allows its customers to shop online. The local pizza restaurant is out of business, while on the same street Papa John’s and Domino’s are expanding… same thing?
So maybe it’s that all failures of business can’t be attributed to the economy, but rather to the failure to market goods, services, and merchandising that today’s customer wants and needs. It is not easy being in business anymore, but the smart businesses will survive.
While travel is still expensive and as a population we have cut back on travel, we realize that as business people we cannot just stick our heads in the sand because our competitors will do the travel, see the new products, and take market share if we stay at home. That being said, I see an increase at major trade shows because people know that they cannot simply surf the internet to find the kind of new and innovative ideas, products and the interaction that always happens when kindred spirits get together.
Any possible reason to increase the costs of energy and raw materials such as paper, plastic resin, and of course fuel will be taken by large scale providers. However pent up these increases are, they will be throttled back by lack of demand and the slow economic recovery. Nashville Wraps is predicting operating expenses to hold in the 2.0 to 2.5% range and the same for the cost of most materials. We have seen minimal cost increases at the beginning of the year so far. We also think the employee compensation which has been generally frozen for the past 18 months or so is due for an increase also in the 2.0% range on average.
As you probably already know, Nashville Wraps takes a leadership approach in business trends. Not only are we confident enough to share our sales data and insights with you, we are all about creating product scenarios to benefit our entire customer base. The results of that often affects the entire retail and food packaging industries. 2010 will be no different for us, and in fact in these times of economic hardship we tend to be even more progressive to deliver packaging that differentiates our customers.
In January of this year Nashville Wraps launched an unprecedented 7 new design groups of gift and gourmet packaging, plus we have added hundreds of new and unique products to our Green Way line of eco-friendly packaging.
A word on Green…
As we know, being green is no longer just a trend. It is a lifestyle and those who embrace it are known by others who do the same. We as a better-educated people can see straight through green schemes and will not tolerate “greenwashing”. We are growing tired of political maneuvering on green issues and just want to be told the truth without persuasion. That is what the stance of Nashville Wraps has been and will continue to be. It is why we set apart the registered Green Way line of sustainable packaging and why that you get the truth from us even if it costs us a few sales for non-green products.
So in 2010, green becomes even more of the standard, and it is no longer represented by just the color “green”. Almost anyone can toss green into their trade show booth and claim to be supporting green products. While we like the color green and moreover what it represents, it has evolved way past that and into every element of design and colors. We simply say. “Green Never Looked so Good” (Well with us anyway).
In a related thought to this I do believe that more and more people are reading labels and are expecting to see reusable, re-giftable and certainly categorically “green” retail packaging. While most lables do not show contents, they do show country of origin. We are slowing comming to realize that products made in America mean more jobs for Americans. And likewise more jobs for Americans means more business in your store and ours. Read the labels, let manfacturers know that you want more US goods!
Happy New Year!