How Disruption In Retail Can Amplify Your Store’s Performance
As a retailer, if you were to stop what you are doing – right now – and ask yourself, “Am I really leveraging retail merchandizing effectively and successfully?”, how long would it take for you to arrive at an answer?
The definition of success is evolving – just as fast as the world of retail – so it’s imperative for you to have a finger on the pulse and be ready to react, adapt and know what to do when technological changes arise.
Or at the very least, hire someone who does know.
Disruption in Retail
Disruption is encouraging brands of all sizes to transform and alter the way they work by boldly going where their competitors aren’t. But disruption is also about how you as a retailer can take advantage of things like tech to adapt; being proactive instead of reactive, and creating trends, rather than riding the same old waves as the other retailers in the market.
Disruptions in retail can transform and benefit businesses immeasurably. And while this is a bold statement, let’s consider it for a moment.
Technology is already proving itself as a facilitator of building relationships, while simultaneously gathering insight into how the latest and newest offerings are influencing the retail sector.
Digital provides opportunities for retailers to:
Acquire new customers
Engage better with existing customers
Reduce the cost of operations
Improve employee engagement.
These, as well as various other benefits, can have a positive influence from a revenue and margin perspective.
This was certainly a theme at the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Big Show last month. The exhibition in New York City brings together over 35,000 attendees and in excess of 700 exhibitors.
NRF is a huge hub of all things retail, including exciting new products claiming to help stores operate more efficiently and enhance the customer experience.
Shows like this make a real difference to retail, as they offer attendees like myself a unique insight into the direction that the world of retail is taking.
Improving Customer Experience
Products at the show claimed to both magnify the in-store experience for consumers while helping streamline processes for retailers and store owners. I was inspired by the idea of creating “theatre” in the store and that “wow” experience.
1. Virtual Reality
For example, the adoption of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in retail is becoming more mainstream and can create more meaningful, memorable shopping experiences for customers.
In order to stay competitive and relevant in your industry, consider embracing and integrating AR into your business, and don’t be afraid to push the boundary.
2. Visual Merchandising
Another way of improving the customer experience is through visual merchandising. When I’m out and about visiting stores, I am often left underwhelmed by the poor merchandising standards and I believe there are two main reasons for this:
Store teams are unclear on what needs changing, how and by when (often because the instructions are in multiple locations).
There is a definite disconnect between the teams at HQ producing the planograms and the teams in store tasked with making the change. There is a lack of communication between the two parties and no visibility that the change has been made on time and to the required standard. This results in inconsistencies across the store estate.
At the NRF, companies such as One Door used the space to demonstrate their very tangible solutions to merchandising challenges. One Door’s cloud-based merchandising software captures and maintains an accurate digital model of all your locations and fixtures. The tool makes promo changes quick and simple while maintaining compliance. T-Mobile, O2 and Vodafone are adopters of the solution and are achieving great results.
Other Great Ideas
Attending the NRF meant that I was lucky enough to be privy to some of the great ideas and companies offering technology that will help you differentiate from your competitors. Including:
Mobile Technologies Inc (MTI) – a global leader in mobile device display technologies, they develop solutions which deliver the highest level of merchandising security for consumer electronics and mobile enterprise applications. This allows products, sales and service to be the focus, while security operates efficiently in the background. At NRF, MTI launched RapidDoc – a mobile tablet enclosure and docking system well suited for POS, Concierge, and Operational use cases. They also debuted SmartLocks, stand-alone battery-powered RFID locks that provide enhanced asset protection with simplified user access management.
June20 – this company has designed a different way for consumers to shop from the moment they enter a store. Customers are able to self-serve and find relevant information about the products they want. This delivers a more interactive approach to shopping that is more enjoyable than what’s currently available. It reduces the transaction time and empowers consumers to find out more about the different options available, ensuring a smooth and informative purchasing experience.
The EXPO made me consider how I can take these new ideas and technologies and implement them to improve stores.
There is a caveat to all this however: having the best technology isn’t a one-stop solution – it cannot operate exclusively. Making improvements to the look of your store and its processes is multifaceted; it requires thought, expertise, and someone to help develop and drive strategy.
You need to first identify the areas of your business that require improving, and then gather some recommendations on the best solutions that can help take your business forward.
Retailers should feel assured that bricks and mortar stores aren’t dead, although this type of rhetoric is almost contagious; high street stores will survive the test of time as long as brand and store owners are open to evolving and embrace the tech. After all, new technologies present enormous opportunities to foster deeper and more loyal relationships with new and existing customers.
As a retailer, by embracing these tools, customers can quickly become your product and brand advocates much sooner, which can then lead to huge rewards in terms of your return on investment and Net Promoter Scores. My 20 years’ worth of telco retail experience, working in the industry, and seeing the type of innovations that are forging their way into the sector, has taught me this.
If you are a retailer interested in learning more about these trends and innovations, or a start-up who is disrupting the consumer’s path to purchase, get in touch.