How Can Your Organization Reimagine What Retail Means for Your Business?
The idea of retail has changed dramatically over the last 5 years, mainly driven by technology and the consumer behaviors it has created. Companies are scrambling to redefine what retail means for their organization as new entrants are creating new models providing incremental value in new ways. But to solve the core problem, we must look at both supply-side and demand-side of the organization and better understand how they can work together.
We are currently experiencing an exodus from brick and mortar shopping to new digitally-led buying behaviors from consumers. We’re witnessing a strain on managing supply and inventory towards real-time, on demand models. Capitalizing on these trends instead of avoiding, we can produce a business model that not only grows today, but sustains and evolves in the future.
Just about every facet of a consumer behavior regarding retail has changed. Consumer expectations have shifted towards a frictionless world where anything is accessible at their fingertips whenever needed. From shopping and buying from our pockets, to at home trial and return, to one-for-one models, to real time local logistics, the idea of “retail” has become a confusing web of opportunity and challenge. The one thing we know for sure is that the way we’ve always done things will no longer work in this new reality.
Those that are succeeding have embraced these behaviors and have built simple, omni-channel brand experiences for their consumers. They connect with consumers on their terms while making it easy for them to transact in a positive, fulfilling way.
The future of retail will be engrossing a consumer into a branded Relationship that connects product, service, and experience into a singular, effortless transaction.
CHINATOWN BUREAU APPROACH
We believe the future of retail will be engrossing a consumer into a branded relationship. One that connects product, service, communications and experience into a singular, effortless transaction. The value exchange will come from the holistic experience itself while having the brand come to life at each interaction and, ultimately, transaction. The digitally-lead orchestrated experience succeeds by understanding the consumer behavior well enough to be there when they need you, at each moment of truth, always at the ready for a purchase and delivery. The orchestrated solution will require all digital, physical and human elements, but they’ll be repurposed into expanded roles of interaction, service and facilitation with the consumer throughout the shopping, buying, and owning process.
This holistic branded retail experience will use consumer data in a way that the supply chain, inventory and physical experiences can be planned and executed in a way that supports the new digitally-led business models, not the other way around. All while keeping the brand to consumer experience as the driving force. The opportunity allows our companies to become leaner, more efficient, and make better decisions on capital investments. It also gives us the data to understand shifting consumer preferences to best plan for innovation, product design and delight.
HOW DO WE GET THERE?
To build this future, there needs to be a massive orchestration of physical, digital and human elements that work together to bring the experience to life. The good news is that we can get started right away to make a difference in our companies while building the future. Change in today’s environment is agile and iterative and never a “big bang” like the past. Building an end vision throughout the transformation gets us closer to our consumer while growing the business model over time.
There are simple steps that any organization can take to plan for and build the future.
- Understanding Today (But take the past out of it): Perform a business analysis and opportunity audit to understand what your consumer is expecting today and the value your brand brings to the consumer’s life in its simplest terms.
- Blank Sheet of Paper. Designing the Future: Connecting the behaviors with the brand experience provides the foundation to a new future. Designing and building a holistic, brand experience and journey with moments of transaction as well as delight will provide the roadmap for future success. This will illustrate how a consumer interacts with your company, while designing the orchestrated elements across the business to fulfill that interaction.
- Building the Engine: The great companies in retail are using digital and data in a way that is never been done before across consumer experience, supply chain and logistics. Having a detailed consumer journey and brand experience designed, we can understand the digital tools and data needs to build the experience needed to fulfill your brand promise and grow your business.
- Executing the Playbook: Knowing the brand experience and customer journey moments and the tools and elements needed to execute, we can take simple action and let your brand come to life while building your new business model.
- Roll it out: Having a plan and pilots are easy, scaling it and getting organizational acceptance is another story. Create a culture of agility and collaboration will help speed the process along. Having an owner of the holistic consumer experience with the correct leadership goes a long way. It’s a combination of top-down and bottom-up that will create the success.
- Iterate: We live in a world of growth and iteration. Measure everything and react to the environment and consumers. Develop a culture of optimization and evolution.
Retail is in a transformative period, but it doesn’t have to be a scary time. Change is a moment of growth and reinvention. The same reasons and trends that are creating the change are also opening opportunity in a way that we never felt possible. Consumer spending is up and consumer sentiment has never been better. Retail is ripe with opportunity. It’s time to tackle it.