Modern Retail: Three Things To Focus on for today
Thing 1: Take a deep breath. There is no retail apocalypse. Retail numbers in the U.S. are really strong, with the best Q1 numbers in four years, and Canada's retail industry continues to post year-over-year growth month after month. Consumers continue to shop. Just not always the way they used to.
Thing 2: Get your team together in a room with a whiteboard. On the vertical axis write "Relevant to our Customer", on the horizontal axis write "Differentiation". Stop working on anything in the bottom right quadrants, get wildly effective at the elements in the top left, and promote/create/enhance what falls into top right - that is your retail zen point.
Thing 3: Focus on what's happening in your store. No matter how skilled, creative & relentless your marketing team is at driving store traffic, flat to declining footfall in your stores is not a short term trend. That doesn't mean in any way they won't die trying, but turn more of your time and treasure to optimizing the selling experience and get those in store conversions up. Simply stated, make more happen with the folks already in your store. Organically retailers are already reporting higher conversions, as omni-consumers research online and arrive at your store with elevated levels of intent. Now take that intent and invest on enhanced tools and training for your associates, leverage state-of-the art traffic and movement analysis, make your product displays "instagrammable" and lastly remove any barriers (real or perceived) to an awesome omni-channel shopping experience.
Bonus Thing (I'm a retailer after all!): the pace of change in retail is relentless and amplifying, but one key to success remains the same: understand your customer and focus on their unmet needs, and you're more than halfway to a winning formula.