Mike Wittenstein Mike Wittenstein Experience and service designer and consultant, Storyminers
Retailing has changed—it’s time retailers catch up

Retailing has changed—it’s time retailers catch up

Due to an increasingly digital world, retailers must change and focus simply on 'delivering what customers want most'

Round One

Many retailers believe that retailing is all about them. They have learned that to be successful, they should focus on their businesses, their lines and product selections, their planograms, their brands, their circulars, and their profits. Retailers own the ’sell'.

Many shoppers believe that shopping is all about them. They have learned that how to use their smartphones to help them earn better pricing and to employ their social media networks to make them smarter than store reps. Essentially, this puts shoppers in control of the ‘buy’. Nobody likes to be sold to. Everyone like to buy. Round one goes to the Shopper.

Round Two

Many retailers are breaking out of the four walls of the typical store by piloting all kinds of new technologies. Encouraged by vendors and consultants to try iBeacons, video analytics, RFID, and personalization, most pilots rely on a ‘we’ll sell more’ payback promise.

Many shoppers are excited about trying new technologies, but they quickly learn to turn off features (or delete apps entirely)that interrupt them. It turns out that most people don’t ‘go shopping’. They’re always shopping, so tending to shopping on a retailer’s schedule isn’t helpful to them. Retailers want to sell more. Shoppers want to buy better. Round two goes to the Shopper.

Round Three

Wait a minute! Why even have a third round? Fighting isn’t a productive method for building utility (the service, convenience, and value customers want) or profits (the financial outcome retailers want). But, it’s the game we’ve played for so long, we forget other options are possible. Shoppers and Retailers don’t want to fight each other. Round three goes to Redesign.

Redesigning Retail

The principles upon which digital businesses are built are very different from the ones traditional businesses rely on. For retailers to earn better returns and have a more central role in their customers’ lives, they have to become capable of delivering what customers want most—better value, service, convenience, and experiences—by designing their organizations, purposefully, to deliver those desired outcomes. Both retailers’ and customers’ agendas can be achieved with a single (better) business design, one that prioritizes:

  • Value creation (for everyone)
  • Service before sales
  • Anticipation (knowing sooner what customers want)
  • Operational efficiencies that benefit both retailers and customers

Retailers can initiate change on their own terms by introducing new technologies within the structure of a ‘Store of the Future’ initiative. It provides the game-changing opportunity to develop a culture of innovation and positively transform your brand.

Find out more from John Lewis'  Director of Retail Operations Development on how they are moving away from the traditional approach to customer service to keep pace with the digital revolution. View his presentation on demand here.