There’s lots of “doom and gloom” retail stories floating around, and if retailers can’t see that they need to wake up, mix it up and start experimenting, they will be left behind to smell the roses.
New retail is about creating unique experiences and something that has its advantages despite the platform.
To engage Australian consumers who have an abundance of choice, you must inspire them and give them an experience. Whether it be in a shop front, through the experience of touching and feeling and getting wowed by amazing displays and the aromas of food cooking in a kitchen; or whether it’s online and having the convenience when your fridge dies at any time of the day and night that at the click a button you will have a new one delivered before your food goes off.
It’s about pushing the boundaries at every angle and that’s what is going to change retail around the country and across the world. It’s something where we will also see some retailers survive and some fall by the wayside.
US fashion house Kate Spade and eBay are examples of retailers pushing the boundaries and offering consumers a retail mash-up with the introduction of a 24-hour touch-screen window-shopping experience and with delivery of the goods anywhere in one hour.
This is genius as it offers consumers a mix of online and in-person shopping through its 24-hour window shops and confirms that consumers can shop anytime, anywhere.
Tesco in the UK is about to unveil a new store that’s focused on offering shoppers a leisure experience, inviting them in to experience different stores within the store, such as a nail bar, a baby area which will host baby singing classes and food concept areas. Tesco is going above and beyond the product offering and focusing on building a community.
Both of these examples demonstrate the importance of targeting the senses, but also highlight that new retail is about exceeding customer expectations and creating compelling retail experiences.
So how do you evolve and become part of the new retail?
Ensure you’re agile – agility is important in the innovation process, as tweaks to concepts will need to be made and you will have to make changes to your business quickly and efficiently.
Be guided by your customers – listen to what your customers want; they are your source for new concepts.
Invest in technology – technology will bring efficiency to your business and it will be the backbone of your innovations, whether that’s an online offering or development staff working on the next big thing.
Don’t discount the mash-up of retail – I often talk about not being able to distinguish between offline and online retail, as good value and good customer support are not platform specific.