I had the opportunity to travel to the National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show in New York City a little while ago. What an interesting and thought-provoking experience! After reviewing my notes I would like to share some of my take-aways:
Online sales versus brick and mortar retailers. Online sales is here to stay and will continue to grow (20 percent during 2013), brick and mortar retailers need to create a hospitable environment in order to attract and retain consumers.
Online purchasing is considered an e-commerce relationship type interaction whereas physical retail creates a more emotional and community attachment.
People are social, therefore there is a primitive need for social interaction.
Brick and mortar has the capability to create a relaxing, community-orientated experience where consumers can enjoy the monetary benefit by shopping with their hard-earned-dollars; reaping their rewards, so to speak, as a way to enjoy their success.
Bottom line. Ever since the caveman, humans have yearned to settle around the campfire with fellow friends and family; build a fire and make your customers feel warm and welcomed.
Showrooming was a hot topic. As most of you know, showrooming is when consumers come into your store, look or try on your product, then scan the item in order to price shop with an online retailer.
The big discussion was that showrooming should be viewed as an opportunity versus a detriment.
Surveys have revealed that 30 percent of shoppers now use their smart phone for research. This will continue to grow as shoppers become savvier with the new technologies offered through smart phones.
Back to the campfire: keep your website up to date; consider offering loyalty rewards; engage in social media campaigns; offer flash sales; engage in online sales; allow shoppers fast and easy access; train your staff; create an easy return policy; maintain a robust Customer Relationship Management system (CRM); create a clean yet entertaining environment.
Employees in retail today should not be viewed as entry or minimum wage employees. Staff can make you or break you. Retail has become sophisticated and therefore recruitment of staff needs to conform to this changing environment.
90 percent of the population has a smart phone: 50% Android, 50% iPhone.
Retailers need intelligent and savvy employees to communicate properly with a new generation of sophisticated shoppers.
Our youth is not only the future of our country but the future of retail success. They grasp the intricacies of the Internet, mobile apps and social media. Use this knowledge and employ their ideas in your marketing and advertising campaigns.
Customer Relationship Management should be employed to retain repeat shoppers. Proper data mining is going to be crucial in distinguishing brick and mortar from online retail.
Know your customers, understand their needs, and cater to their wants and desires. Targeted marketing can save you money while lifting your sales.
Couple of other tidbits
- 77 percent of retail stores have fewer than 10 employees
- Retail is the nation’s largest sector employer
- Retail supports one in five jobs
- More than 42 million jobs are supported by retail
- Nearly half of retail employees are 16-24 years of age.
I’d be happy to discuss any of this further with you if you’re interested. Hope you fared ok through the weather systems and I look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming events.
Ray Mattes, President/CEO Retail Alliance