Leveraging a Data Tool for Business Development

June 30, 2020
Author: Glenn Hunter

If your bottom line has suffered due to COVID-19, you’re not alone. The pandemic has played havoc with a wide range of U.S. organizations, and most are scrambling for ways to get revenue back on track. One route back is to identify those industries or sectors that have fared well recently, losing the fewest number of jobs – or even growing – during the downturn. The data will indicate which sectors are offering goods and services that consumers are still buying, and whether their supply chains have been resilient enough to meet the demand.

Data from LaborIQ can inform sales and business development strategies.

By identifying and analyzing these sectors with the help of an intuitive tool like LaborIQ® by ThinkWhy, your organization can identify new prospects for your own growth at the same time. With their revenue streams intact, companies in these sectors could become prime targets as you expand your sales, marketing and other business-development efforts in a quest for more customers. And, identifying these targeted sectors is easy with LaborIQ. By clicking on its Market Views tile and then the Recovery Tracker option, you’ll be able to see at a glance just how long it should take industries in each U.S metro to recoup jobs that were lost due to the pandemic.

Consider, for example, what has been happening recently in Retail Trade, one part of the Trade, Transportation and Utilities supersector. According to data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs in Retail Trade as a whole fell dramatically this year, from 15.7 million to an estimated 13.7 million between February and May, as the nationwide lockdowns kicked in.

General Merchandise Stores – one of a dozen subsectors under the Retail Trade category – lost 102,200 jobs during that period, finishing May with an estimated 2.94 million jobs. However, General Merchandise Stores consists of two industry segments, and the difference in job growth between them was like night and day. One segment, Department Stores, lost a whopping 229,400 jobs during the period, ending May with an estimated 849,100 jobs. But the other, General Merchandise Stores Including Warehouse Clubs and Supercenters, added 127,000 jobs, bringing its estimated May jobs total to 2.09 million.

Investments in Technology and New Stores

Data from LaborIQ can help inform sales and business development strategies.

It’s not hard to understand why. In contrast to traditional department stores like Sears, Macy’s and J.C. Penney, which have shuttered locations and slashed jobs or filed for bankruptcy protection, General Merchandise Stores including Warehouse Clubs and Supercenters found consumer favor during the pandemic. Both Warehouse Clubs and Supercenters focus on value, offering a wide variety of products – from food and pharmaceuticals to personal care and household goods – at discounted prices, often in bulk. (Warehouse Clubs charge a fee to their “members,” while Supercenters do not.)

Related: Retail Industry Grapples with Doing Business During COVID-19

The Warehouse Clubs segment is dominated by Sam’s Club (with 599 stores), Costco Wholesale (with 544) and BJ’s Wholesale Club. The biggest players among Supercenters, meanwhile, include Walmart (which has 3,570 U.S. Supercenters) and Target (more than 1,800 stores). With consumers flocking to these locations during the pandemic to stock up on everything from cleaning products to pasta, the immediate future of these players looks bright.

Walmart, which also owns Sam’s Club, is investing heavily in robotics and e-commerce, for example. Sam’s Club recently rolled out a new “scan-and-go” smartphone app for snapping up products in its stores without having to see a cashier. Target has announced upcoming store openings in cities including Los Angeles; Iowa City, Iowa; Coral Gables, Florida; Chicago; Las Vegas; Manhattan; Salt Lake City; and Boston. And Costco says it’s planning new locations in metros ranging from Saratoga Springs, Utah; Idaho Falls, Idaho; and Bismarck, North Dakota to Cherry Hills, New Jersey; San Jose, California; and Surprise, Arizona.

If your organization is selling, or plans to sell, into the Retail Trade space – and specifically to General Merchandise Stores – it’s clear your best prospects will be in the Warehouse Clubs and Supercenters segment. Whether you’re offering the actual goods sold in these stores – or products the stores need to operate their business, like IT systems and office supplies – there’s no doubt that LaborIQ by ThinkWhy, a data tool identifying industries and regions with the most growth potential, will help jump-start your business-development effort.

ThinkWhy continuously monitors and forecasts labor data at all levels, measuring impact to MSAs, industries, occupations, businesses, and salaries across the U.S.