Successful retailing is definitely based on retailers’ performative struggle. For retailers, performativity is about winning customers.
Striving to get hold of that one tactic to win new customers and simultaneously striving to retain the existing ones are big struggles these days if your strategies are not well planned.
Competition is high with Omni-channel commerce.
So, will this performative struggle continue?
Yes, the squeeze is on and will continue as long as the hyper-competitive market exists; as long as the urge to perform better exists; as long as the need to be better than others exists. To top it, every time you grapple with a newly birthed technological era, there is a hope to turn them into opportunity.
But, understand, this struggle is to create a revolution between the past, the present and the future. There are so many factors and key determinants at play.
“Today’s struggle is an opportunity to develop the strength you need for tomorrow”
The two factors that can help retailers to get over their performative struggle can be excelling consistently with an experimental mindset in;
- Creating personalized experience
- Being efficient
To achieve this, retailers should re-examine at a frequent interval the strategies followed by them to run a business.
It is a test to show your ability.
“An effective value strategy can deter the migration of customers to other outlets,” says Richard Hammond in his book, “Your Success in the Retail Business.”
To connect the dots then, you’re probably wondering what indicators you should be focusing to re-examine your style of business delivery. Here are the top six practices that can get you out of your performative struggle.
Top Six Practices for Retailers
# Practice No: 1 – Retailers Need to Create Outstanding Experience for all Online Visitors
Having a powerful online presence is highly critical for any type of business. Your web or mobile page should create a personalized and tailored experience for your visitors. Let the navigation be smooth. Do not create a maze effect. To get your leads converted and to retain your customers as lifetime users, you need to focus on delivering beyond what your customers expect from you. Key points to focus here could be;
- Choose the right domain name
- Let the design, layout, content and appearance of your site prove your brand’s efficiency
- Let the landing page of your online business focus on the value perception
- Let your pages be SEO/ Google friendly
- Focus on using interactive elements that can keep your brand alive
- Let your call-to-action be very powerful
- Gather analytics regularly to give space to improve
- Focus on the current style and trend
- Get your business “app-ready”
- Be prepared to experiment
- Build trust
- Focus on security and privacy
#Practice No: 2 – Retailers Need to Be More Consumer-Centric
As the entire world is witnessing a rising penetration of online shopping via mobile phones along with an escalating use of social media platforms by both buyers and sellers, it gets more challenging for the retailers to differentiate their brand from their competitors. Delivering a lifetime value for the customers and the best of experiences can position the brand better.
“What you do makes who you are.”
Move from “We are what we have,” to “We are what you want.”
Retailers need to consistently work on methodologies that can take them closer to consumers. This involves lots of detailing in terms of the people, process, organization, technology and metrics. It is a total commitment. The need is to inculcate a philosophy that focuses purely on meeting customer expectations. Your approach should support the mobile force.
A recent report submitted by Forrester suggests retailers promote agile methods to foster customer-centric thinking.
Several brands are already into this process.
A typical example here can be Amazon. With a net income was $1.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017, the company stands today as the most customer-centric company in the world. The company continues to bring out new services and features that can enhance and empower its customer experiences.
There are many ways to centre a business. Obsessive customer focus is by far the most protective of Day 1 vitality, says Jeff Bezos.
# Practice No: 3 – Retailers Need to Create a Meaningful Experience via social media
Social media has brought serious changes in the context of communication. An interesting fact is that a majority of the businesses conduct their promotional/branding/marketing activities through social media. Customer interaction is easier through this medium. Posting real-time activities, sharing interactive content, photographs, audio clippings, video, GIFs are common initiatives taken by marketers to reach customers anytime and anywhere and to bridge the gap between them and their users.
“Social media is meant to be used and explored,” says Jennifer L Jacobson in her book titled, “42 rules of social media for small business.”
So, do not be stingy. Use wisely to enhance your performance and make it more personal to customers.
A case of Airbnb
Airbnb is one such brand which has mastered its social media strategies. The company’s prime focus has always been to engage its audience meaningfully. With every social media post, the company excels the art to connect with its audience. Airbnb believes in giving its audience only what bothers them!
# Practice No: 4 – Retailers Need to Get the metrics right
Managing your products, customers, their orders, distribution and planning for promotions, loyalty programs etc, needs a thorough understanding of your customers. A clean and clear insight of your customers’ preferences can help reduce the risk of errors and make the entire process faster and leaner. Also, it is important to measure your every business activity.
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it,” says Peter Drucker, an expert in modern business management.
The tip here is to take complete advantage of the Business Intelligence. Understanding the metrics brings more science to every decision that you make.
Top factors that drive the growth and demand for Business Intelligence includes the growth of advanced analytics, adoption of data-driven decision-making, and the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled technologies.
“A recent Retail Assist Global Retail survey revealed that nearly 77 percent of consumers expect an offering of products and offers that appeal to their personal tastes.”
Take the best advantage of the gathered information to improve and optimize decisions and future performance.
# Practice No: 5 – Retailers Need to Prepare to face the Gen Z
Although of the same species, Gen Zs are so different. They are the new dynamic coming to your marketplace.
“One of the most startling discoveries from this year’s new national study: Gen Z is shaping up to be the Throwback Generation”
Stated as large, diverse and misunderstood, Gen Z are totally different from millennials. They pay less attention; are more hyper and are influenced by their friends. But, Gen Zs are certainly instant- decision makers. They get carried away with impressive, colourful ideas and are not serious or loyal to one brand.
Two important skills that this group considers as noted in a research white paper by the National Research Study are communication and problem-solving.
Tapping this sector is tricky. Retailers need to thoroughly prepare to face this group. Find the touch points to this group and enhance your offerings according to their demands. Focus on meaningful communication and quick problem solving methods.
# Practice No: 6 – Retailers Need to adopt the Blockchain Technology
The Blockchain technology is already in the process of creating a sizable impact on the retail industry. “As a decentralized model, the Blockchain technology brings along with it its transformative ability to streamline all the retail operations including; logistics, supply chain, product authenticity, payments and trustable configuration of a network of agents,” says OpenXcell, a pioneering mobile app development company that has expanded its offerings with the Blockchain technologies.
Gartner predicts that by 2022, a blockchain-based business will be worth $10 billion.
- Sharing of Data
- Digital assets
- Software contracts
- No middlemen
In short, if you look for efficiency, adopt blockchain.
Have a look at the following statistics:
The size of blockchain technology is growing year by year. Educate yourself in order to identify the business processes where Blockchain can be of use.
…And the suggestion is
There is an anxiety-induced sense of urgency to progress and re-invent among the retailers. Although digital shopping or online shopping is taking the upper hand, brick and mortar shops are also equally picking up with several enhancements. BOPIS is the new trend where you check products and buy online and pick up in stores. In short, shopping patterns are changing, but the thumb rule is that only the best of experiences can bring back business to a retailer. This period is exciting for both buyers and sellers.
If you are new to this agenda, try adopting few of the above-mentioned tips. Few of them may work and few may not. It depends purely on your business style. Just follow the Pareto rule…80/20 rule. Sometime you might have to put in 80 percent effort to get at least 20 percent result and sometimes you can put in just 20 percent effort to get 80 percent result. The point is to feel good that you had the opportunity to succeed with the critical 20 percent! Let this “more methodical and strategically sensible thought” stay in you.