Is your retail brand ready to succeed in a complicated, customer orientated world?
Without doubt, life used to be easy for retailers. To echo the famous words directed to the general public “you’ve never had it so good” the equally valid claim to retail businesses was definitely “you’ve never had it so easy!”
In a world of low expectations, it was buying things that was generally difficult. The world was full of average shops selling average products, but with customer expectations low we were never disappointed. So they stocked it, piled it high and we came in our droves, of course at a time and place that was convenient for retailers.
Welcome to the modern, customer orientated retail world…
“You’ve never had it so complicated!”
The world, with retail distinctly no exception, has been “turned on its head!” led by advances in technology, e-commerce and social media and by a customer whose expectations of choice have been transformed, whose loyalty cannot be taken for granted, and who now demands retail excellence at every level.
The shoe, the trousers, the home accessory, electrical item, book and even food trolley is now decidedly on the other foot.
For your brand to succeed, or even survive in 2016 and beyond, it is important for every retail business to accept and engage with the following realities:
Your customers demand access to your brand – wherever, whenever and however they want.
Choice is almost infinite, and in the busy lifestyle of the consumer convenience is the new king. To complicate things further what constitutes convenience is as myriad as the number of consumer themselves, with locations, timings, frequencies and processes constantly varying and changing. Convenience, and patronage and ultimately loyalty is based on dynamic transient elements meaning that any retailer needs to be constantly and efficiency flexible in how it promotes, sells, delivers and services its client base.
You now exist in an omni-channel world where you need to deliver your brand and your product across stores, online, mobile and social networks.
Coordination and integration within your business need to be at new levels of efficiency to deliver an equally coordinated brand delivery in every stage of the customer journey through every one of your interfaces. This integration is not restricted to the traditional supply chain focused on getting your product into the right place at the right time, but to getting your brand into the right place at the right time bringing into play departments such as marketing, HR, service training, internal communications and operations.
With less brand loyalty than ever, your brand must remain constantly attractive and desirable in even these most challenging times.
Like the proverbial swan the greater the strain the more the importance for calmness and serenity above the customer waters. Even with the best planning retail stores sometimes failed to function and that pressure is magnified manifold in the multi-channel environment. Mending these malfunctions, placating the customer also takes on a multi-channel dimension where communication and information must be transferred effortlessly to whichever touchpoint is called upon to sooth the shopping woes.
Your customer is more diverse, more individual and more international than ever.
As a result of both e-commerce and real store international expansion your customer is more diverse than ever browsing, shopping and buying not just across channels, but with different cultures, traditions and expectations. One rule, one solution never fitted all but now the alternatives required are even greater where a variety of approaches must all come together under the one brand umbrella, the single “tone of voice” the perfect customer proposition.
Brand education and communication is as critical as an internal entity as it is as an external expression.
However, don’t make life more complicated than it has to be…
Before hurtling into action, this new complicated world has not thrown out traditional logic or experience completely, so before anything it’s essential to assess, to plan and to prioritise objectives for your own business in the context of this multi-channel maelstrom.
The bedrock of your business remains the same, however the stresses and strains of functioning across several channels could bring to breaking point the disciplines of buying & merchandising, assortment planning, retail & store operations, marketing and visual merchandising.
Begin with a sound assessment, repair the already frail functionality in your business before exposing it to an omni-channel attack by the unforgiving omnipresent 24/7 customer.
Follow the link below to find out more on how we help retailers and brands like yourselves to prepare, exist and flourish in the omni-channel world.
If you’d like to chat
Please get in touch. We’ll be happy to help & advise…
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