jueves, 7 de enero de 2016

THUNDERSTORM IN RETAIL LAND.




Or how retailers are been shaken up....







Macy's, Tesco, Vroom & Dreesman, Brantano, Gap,...etc..just some of a large list of retailers suffering in a fast changing retail world.. Some have already failed,..others try to survive,   reorganizing and cutting down the heavy existing cost structures, by closing stores, changing their complete strategy, focusing and our copying some of the more succesfull competitors. 
Often too late.





Being retailer today, is not anymore, how it was yesterday....yes, only yesterday....
In a fast moving consumer market,...where consumers are evoluting much faster than retailers can follow, it is more than important as retailer, completly control the off and online business. 

By analysing the main problems of some of the above retailers, we can detect some very common errors.


- Very boring physical store experiences for the consumer.

- Outdated products groups and business models 

- Too seasonal depending sales situations. (today, a retailer can not depend anymore on a 
   warm winter  or cold summer situation)

- Unmotivated sales teams and a lack of a "culture" mentality in the company.

- The non-existance of a properly owned omnichannel structure.

- Too heavy management estructures, with long time decisions delays.

- Too heavy company cost estructures and very high rental prices.

- Too many venture capital investments situations, losing the real core essential 
   of the purpose of the business.

- The complete lack of a value added, ..."we are different" concept, and most of the time, 
   just focusing on a more continuous "low price" discounter concept image.






It is clear, that due to, the tremendous switch to the digital area, where people are almost 24 hours connected to the mobile or other digital application, (just took the train this morning, and almost everybody was mobiling), the increasing power of some of the world leading e-commerce players like Amazon, Alibaba,...etc..(.which have managed to control all major retail flows and putting the new rules), retailers have to act immediatly by:


- Start integrating the "off and online business" as a company philosophy, 
  tuning both as complementary and vital for the future of your business.

- Leaving the endless "discount" concept philosphy (there will always be one cheaper), 
  moving towards a more innovating and a new "must have" product group.
  Lets  call it "differentiating". Creating an "appealing assortement" by having 
  the right product on the right time.

- Understand your consumer, by using the tremendous internet, smart phone, etc...tools,
  in order to detect, listen and react to your consumer interest and sentiments.

- Getting the pricing right. Today, consumers are more price-aware than ever, 
  comparing prices off and online continuously. 
  There are no secrets anymore, as all market prices are visible and trackable.  
  Immediate actioning is requiered.  

- Controlling your stock levels, by not depending on too seasonal sales behaviours, 
  using a  flexible retail and mechandising planning, controling your main production.
  Using small collections with a fast leadtime, adapted to the lates market trends
  and needs... (one of the best examplas of above is the "quick market" response
  of the Inditex group).

- Controlling your retail rental prices. Often, due to excessive rental prices
  for prime locations, retailers often put themselves into financial problems.  
  A "flagship" can be nice,...but it could be letal for your company too..

As you can see,..above, are just some of the ways to implement in your retail organization, in order to to be prepared and affront major changes in retail land.
However, altough we are confronted lately, with this digital retailing, we should never forget that it is and always will be complementary. (representing often a 5% to 10% of your regular physical sales figures)
We should not forget the importance of the employees, who are the people who connect in between the company and the consumer.  Even online,..they make the difference. 
It is more than needed,.a super motivated team on all llevels of the company, who knows to manage all retail tools and understand the reason to use them, in order to give the best service to their consumers.




At the end, buy using the words of a top shoe retailer in the Netherlands, retailers have to put the focus on the consumer, instead of on the technology.  This technology is very important but it is no more, than a a very helpfull unmissable tool, to make it the easier for the client, to buy your product and to interact on all levels.

People still make the difference.














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