How Can Retailers Succeed in an Unpredictable Future?

How Can Retailers Succeed in an Unpredictable Future?

We’ve heard it voiced many times that “the only thing in life that doesn’t change is change itself.” The expression seems to fit what’s currently happening in the world of retail sales. As technology continues to progress at an astonishing speed, retailers are scrambling to accommodate the changes while looking for new ways to keep present customers and attract new ones. The question is, “How can this be done?”

In an article for National Retail Federation, Kristina Stewart presents five suggestions from Trevor Hardy, CEO of The Future Laboratory. The suggestions (shown below) are based on the need for retailers to renew corporate/brand trust, which Hardy deems to be at an all-time low in the world today.

Use of radical transparency. An example would be the use of plain language on packaging, rather than marketing buzzwords, showing customers clearly what’s in a product. (What exactly does “organic” mean, anyway?)

Providing civic duty and education. Finding ways to act as a force for good in society, such as sponsoring a charity drive, or furnishing opportunities for customers to learn a new lifestyle or creative skill at their favorite store.

Supplying better service. Rather than just being facilitators to customers in a store, staff should focus on being in-store influencers, which humanizes the retail experience.

Increase localism. Customers want a connection to the brands they support with their dollars. Look to sourcing from local providers. (My community, for example, has many independent wineries)

“Explorium” retail. Technology has to a great degree taken the joy out of shopping for many. Retailers can profit by reintroducing complexity in the shopping experience, such as focusing on ways for customers to appreciate the journey more. Turning the store into a performance venue for a month or two, for example, would allow customers to enjoy the store differently.

Reestablishing consumer trust is a long-term technique that leads to greater success for businesses. Using the above guidelines will go a long way in providing that success.


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