The future of retail
Tom Goodwin, executive vice-president and head of innovation at Zenith USA, has published the latest article in his series on the future of retail in Marketing Week.
In his first piece, he made the distinction between ‘buying’ and ‘shopping’ – ‘buying’ the activity where efficiency is king, whereas ‘shopping’ is all about experience. Goodwin argues that retailers need to make a choice to be one or the other – the Amazon or the Selfridges. Shoppers expect to be able to get want they want, when they want - if you want them to dwell a bit longer then you better offer a great experience.
In this second piece, he turns to examining the retail businesses of today, arguing we need to see everything “as a shoppable layer, every password or entry field as a barrier.” With the technological advances of past few years there is “no reason why every retail brand can’t sell pretty much everything” - retail today is less about bricks and mortar and more about eyeballs. It is not all doom and gloom for traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers, who have an opportunity to offer high-quality and personalised customer service that “compliments online one-click retail rather than attempting to compete.”
Goodwin’s message is clear: retailers need to innovate, to keep adapting to the world around them. In this new retail landscape with polarising trends of super-efficiency and rich experience, retailers need to make a choice: either provide a great highly efficient experience that meets people’s desires to be able to get what they want when they want it, or choose a different path asking consumers to spend a little more time. In return, they provide a different type of experience, one the consumer feels is worth spending that extra time for.
Neither path is wrong, but retailers need to make the choice and provide the best experience for their customers based on this decision. If not, they risk being stuck in a middle ground which is where no one wants to be.
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