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How are stores faring these days? From what we hear, a lot of stores are seeing sales increases. Why?
PEOPLE ARE AT HOME DOING AT HOME HOBBIESSummer is usually when aquariums get ignored. People take vacations. Not this summer. People are at home and in home hobbies are thriving. The pandemic relief money has given many people some extra cash. Some are saving, but a lot are spending. They are spending at aquarium stores. They will continue spending at aquarium stores. Normal life is still in the distance.
KIDS ARE AT HOME DRIVING THEIR PARENTS TO DRINKKids can't watch TV and play video games ALL day. Parents need to keep them occupied. They're looking for projects such as aquariums. Some stores are having incredible success with entry level kits like the BiOrbs or BioCubes. Some are putting together packages with AquaTop and Lifegard Aquatics Crystal Aquariums. Aquariums are a great way for parents and kids to bond. They're also great teaching tools. Pretty much everything related to creating and maintaining an aquarium is relevant to K-12 science.
THE INTERNET IS OVERWHELMEDTake a look at the lead times on Amazon. Unless you're getting a mask or other essential item, it's taking them a week or two to get products delivered. Even for many Prime orders. Stores have always had the advantage when it comes to getting the product into the consumer's hands immediately. Right now it's a bigger advantage.
MANUFACTURERS ARE RUNNING OUT OF PRODUCTMore than ever, manufacturers are out of stock on items. Production in China is suffering. Production in the United States is suffering. Shipping is slowing down. Demand for aquarium products is up, and manufacturers can not meet the demand. How does all this help? If you have a product on your shelves there is a really good chance many online stores and the brick and mortar competition in your area do not have the product. We keep selling products that we normally do not sell. Why? Because the competition does not have the product. Selling something no one else has is an amazing high. Almost as good as sex.
BLACK FRIDAY COULD BE HUGE FOR BRICK AND MORTAR THIS YEARThe UPS is failing. They're delivering very little on time (good thing we ship FedEx). The USPS is getting slower and slower. And it's only August. Fast forward three months to Black Friday when the Christmastime shipping volume hits. Shipping times will get worse and worse. The USPS will still be delivering election ballots. People will get fed up and turn their back on the internet. Consumers will be so happy to have product in hand purchased at the local fish store, they will not mind paying 10% over the internet price (or, 20% or 30%). Hey, it's better than a picture of the Christmas present that will arrive two weeks after Christmas if you're lucky.
NOTE: We do not advocate price gouging. But the internet has driven down margins for years. We're just talking a return to normal margins!!