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THE FUTURE OF RETAIL Independent retailers have more to manage than ever: demanding customers with personalized needs, copious amounts of data to sort through, and the pressure to be “omnichannel”, frantically competing with big-box stores and eCommerce giants by selling products on as many channels as possible. It can get a little overwhelming. Luckily, there are ways to handle and thrive in the ever-changing retail environment. We’re here to point out the major trends of 2015 and show you how to navigate them.
“BUY LOCAL” IS BIG.SO IS TECHNOLOGY. 1
The “buy local” movement gained momentum in 2014 and will continue to grow in 2015. That’s good news for independent retailers.Not only are these stores popular, but owners have a secret weapon: technology.
USE IT. With the rise of accessible retail technology, small and mid-size retailers are empowered to use data to make decisions that drive their business forward.
“The ability to see turns by item, class, etc. is very powerful.” Andy Tesane, Owner, Two Bostons pet supply boutique
OMNICHANNELIS THE NEW NORM.GET ON BOARD. 2
The typical 2015 consumer’s thought process goes something like: “I want what I want, when I want it, where I want it, in the way I want to buy it.” Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but we’re probably not that far off the mark…
HERE’S A TIP: SO HOW DO YOU HANDLE IT? Figure out the right form of omnichannel for you. If that means building and maintaining an eCommerce site, great. Just make sure you’re not opening a web store “just to have one.” 2015 is about smart retail.
“In the scarcity economy, success meant selling your brand’s products at a value. In the new abundance economy, your brand’s values are the product.” Doug Stephens, @RetailProphet
3 IN 2015, A POSITIVE IN-STORE EXPERIENCE IS CRUCIAL.CUSTOMERS NEED A REASON TO BUY FROM YOU.
With all the modern purchasing options available to consumers, it’s easy for small retailers to get passed over in favor of big-box stores. Don’t let this happen to you.
By creating a welcoming, positive environment in which customers are easily able to get the products they want and the help they need, you create a competitive advantage to being an independent retailer. Build and emphasize these relationships with your customer base using the tools at your disposal.
“You can do promotions and marketing gimmicks until the cows come home but if you haven’t done all you can to convert those customers who are in your four walls – the only place you can truly affect your sales – from lookers to buyers, then you are like a poor marksman constantly missing the target.” Bob Phibbs, @TheRetailDoctor
PERSONALIZATION AND CUSTOMIZATION AREN’T ADDED BENEFITS ANYMORE.THEY’RE ESSENTIAL. 4
Collect all the customer data you can get. Use this data to personalize marketing campaigns that drive traffic into your store. Use your retail technology to keep track of customer purchase history. Arm your salespeople with this data so they can keep track of past purchases and build personal relationships with customers.
“It’s hard to remember everything. Tracking customer information allows us to build relationships without having to remember all the details ourselves. It’s amazing what that can do to drive sales.” Linda Shikany, Owner, Marigold Clothing
LOYALTY CARDS ARE GOOD. PERSONALIZED OFFERS ARE BETTER. 5
Loyalty programs for frequent buyers have dominated the customer relationship management landscape in retail. You can’t settle for one general plan anymore. Customers expect personalization, so make it work for them.
Use retail data to personalize coupons and promotions. For example, run a report to find your Top 250 spenders in a certain area of your store. Then, send them a coupon for items within that area.
“Ask yourself: What’s happening in my community, in my category and in my channel? What pain or friction are my shoppers dealing with right now? What can I do to ease it or just make them happier? And how will this lead to them choosing our store?” Laura Davis-Taylor, SVP of Omnichannel Experience, The Integer Group
DON’T BE EGOCENTRIC.IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU; IT’S ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMERS. 6
RETAIL IS CONSUMER-DRIVEN. Think of your customers first, and they’ll reward you for it with their hard-earned business.
“Consumers don’t care about tags like ‘omni’ – what they care about is being able to purchase the products they are looking for on their own time, from anywhere, on any device.” Jason Becker, COO, RICS Software