When we launched into 2022, we did so with great anticipation! But, as the industry sought to find its “post-pandemic normal,” economic uncertainty brought new challenges for most retailers.
While we learned to live with COVID-19 and its lingering impacts on our businesses, employees, and customers, we also became keenly aware that the past several years have fundamentally changed the retail industry today. Consumers have always driven this transformation—much of it due to the rub between technology, convenience, and personal experience.
Over the past year, retail’s resilience has been on full display as businesses innovated rapidly to meet the ever-changing needs of consumers. As we have seen significant growth in online marketplaces, many small retailers have stood their ground and remained competitive. Customers have returned to the in-store shopping experience while contactless retail has become our new reality, as curbside, BOPIS, and direct-to-customer have become industry standards. Warehousing, logistics, and last-mile delivery have also become critical components in maintaining a seamless customer experience. This innovation is now embedded in our industry and has changed how we do business in our post-pandemic world.
In 2022 our members have had to face continued uncertainty with the highest inflation the country has seen in 40 years resulting in dwindling consumer confidence. As we continue to navigate retail workforce shortages, the issues surrounding public safety and retail theft have become top of mind for retailers and a top priority for the association.
To confront these challenges, the Washington Retail Association (WR) has effectively responded to the needs of our members and stakeholders, delivering a measurable return on investment. We successfully increased the association’s profile, broadening our sphere of influence with government agencies, partners, and stakeholders across the state to help tackle the most pressing issues facing our members. In spite of the economic volatility of the past year, WR maintained 98% of members and increased membership by 12%,
Today, WR represents approximately 3500 storefronts throughout the state. Retailers of all sizes and sectors, from small businesses to regional retailers, multi-state and global, have joined together to form a more powerful voice on behalf of the retail industry. Whether it’s to maintain and grow financial stability, provide resources, or advocate politically, we have remained dedicated to delivering high-value service for our members. We are committed to this standard of excellence in the coming year. Our talented team recently produced a video highlighting the association’s good work. I hope you enjoy it.
We wish you a wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year. Thank you for your support throughout the year.
All the best in 2023!