The Times They Are A’Changing…
# Excuse me while I roll out the red carpet and welcome the amazingly passionate and ever so knowledgeable Debra Templar as she discuss how retail is changing.
Retail is changing and it’s changing fast! No, we didn’t expect it. No, we weren’t ready for it. But it’s here and we’re dealing with it. Yes, we were caught flat footed. Yes, we’re navigating new waters as we shore up what we’ve always done. Yes, we’re changing.
Jon Bird of IdeaWorks wrote a great article recently on his blog (www.newretailblog.com) where he talked about the ‘blurring’ of retail – the speed of change. Here are four of his top points:
The Rise of SoMoLo Shoppers – “SoMoLo” is short for “Social, Mobile, Local”. It describes shoppers enabled by smartphones who are instantly socializing their selections with friends and family, researching and buying on the run, and taking advantage of local deals pushed to their handheld devices. It’s arguably the single most defining trend disrupting retail.
The Growth of Retail Hackers – Wired Magazine in the US coined the term “retail hacker” to describe the “reconception of shopping as a contact sport in which consumers increasingly refuse to buy on the terms dictated to them.” Customers are in control and they take no prisoners – gleefully snapping up deals on the group-buying sites, or shamelessly researching in store and then buying at the cheapest possible prices online. (US electronics retailer Best Buy is often described as “Amazon’s showroom”.) If you think customers are going to behave themselves in 2012, then you’d better think again.
Putting the Squeeze on Prices – The level of total price transparency available via the web is putting downward pressure on margins across the world, and Australia will continue to feel the squeeze in 2012. Where this will end up is absolutely clear. As Ross Gittens, economics commentator in the Sydney Morning Herald noted this year, “we’re going to see prices around the world falling to roughly the same level.” What’s not clear is how much blood will be spilled getting to that point.
Small Time is Back Big Time – Independent (or “indie”) retailers have an opportunity to shine in 2012, as jaded customers crave individuality and authenticity. For chain retailers, it’s important to act a little more “indie”, celebrating diversity in the look and feel of your stores, and localizing your offer.
The key for 2012? Stay alert and be prepared to change – fast! The days of “wait and see” are long gone. Don’t get caught in the past. To do so is retail death! And the saddest part? Your customers won’t care – they’ll have moved on to the business that ‘gets it’.
Debra Templar is one of Australia’s leading retail enthusiasts, keynote speakers and business coaches. She has an abundance of retail experience, including sales (retail and direct sales), management, merchandising, customer service, and so much more. Her articles and seminars are an inspiration to many, many retailers who work hard every day to build their businesses.
:: This is a post in a series of posts written by Australia’s leading retail experts, all three had the same question “What are your thoughts and predictions on the current state of the retail industry” at no time was it was discussed prior to being published therefore all viewpoints all solely the thoughts from each expert.