By Matt Powell
Shopping must be an experience for today’s consumer, but each consumer has a different definition of “experience.” So, how do retailers strike the right chord?
Retail must be omnipresent — available to consumers whenever, wherever, and however they want. By blending the experience with core values, retailers can improve every aspect of the physical store, which is a must if they are to survive the Internet age.
Retailers must develop their own “muse,” or an iconic customer that represents the core of their business. In creating their muse, retailers must target and tailor the experience to their core customer. Brands and products that do not line up with this muse must be exorcised. Retailers must challenge their thinking periodically on their muse, but they must always have a “north star” to lead them.
Once the muse has been created, retailers must curate their assortments to be focused on this muse and its tangents. Their brands must illustrate a clear point of view in their product assortments.
Not every brand will survive this contraction. Retailers must pick the brands they think will be winners and elevate them. Brands that are predicted to win in the future must be nurtured and over emphasized. This does not necessarily mean dropping brands not designated as winners, but retailers must wean themselves off these brands. Remember, brands and retailers no longer create trends; the consumer is in charge now. Brands and retailers must feed these trends.
In addition, consumers want to know where a retailer stands on key social issues, and this must be reflected. Retailers must take positions on social issues that are important to their core customer, even if it risks alienating others.
Loyalty programs are also beneficial, but then again must be tailored to the muse. Retailers should not waste consumers’ time with meaningless features and too many communications.
Tying everything together
To tie everything together, retail must be omnipresent — available to consumers whenever, wherever, and however they want. Retailers must have one common pricing, one common inventory, and one common message. Anything short of that is failure.
By blending the experience with core values, retailers can improve every aspect of the physical store, which is a must if they are to survive the Internet age.
Matt Powell is VP, senior industry advisor ; sports at The NPD Group, Inc.