The retail world is in a tailspin as online sales sour and great companies like Amazon are attacking the front doors of the brick and mortar retailer. The retail industry is heavy on brick and mortar, glass fronts and stores are suffering a drop in sales and traffic within their walls. Wall Street is saying it’s the death of retail, financial gurus are saying in-store retail is a dead horse, and now grocery stores are in a panic about home delivery and lower margins.
This news is not all doom and gloom. There are some specific solutions to the predicted demise. MODA is telling our clients that you can’t “hope” for a turnaround. We promise that if retailers don’t change their focus, disaster and mass failure is imminent.
RULE NUMBER ONE
If you want a different outcome, you must start to think differently. Executive teams that are focused on the old way of doing business, or teams that do not understand brand, will never be able to right the ship.
Retailers got lazy, always thinking if they had great products they could count on people coming to the stores. Many forget that they are in the business of creating an experience that results in the sale of products. Simply building a pretty store and staffing it with pretty people is not enough. Brand Drives Everything!!!
WHAT IS THE ANSWER?
Customer engagement. Great brands understand that their brand is their product. Their brand promise is what people buy. People don’t buy products, they buy great brands because great brands create strong, positive emotions. People love to feel good about themselves and their community - when your brand satisfies that need, you have loyal customers.
We aren’t sharing anything new, but sometimes the simplest of answers are the ones we overlook. Today’s retailers need to recreate the buying experience, they need to build a brand that excites the emotions of customers again. If you want customers in your stores, you must create or change the customer experience.
Stores need to change their focus. ASK…Does the customer feel engaged, excited and entertained from the minute they walk in the door or log online? Retailers need to go to exclusive lines they control, based on quality not quantity, value and excitement - not just profits. They need products that are exclusive to their brand and then build a business distribution model that creates energy at the stores, and interest via the internet.
Tough choices will be made as retailers turn away from the mass ‘same product’ distribution, and return to specialty products only they can provide. This means store closings, store redesigns and building a new entertainment experience that attracts people to their stores. Computers and smart phones may look like an engagement tool, but they never compare with live entertainment, with real time, real life experience. Authentic customer engagement is vital.
WHO IS CAPTURING THIS CONCEPT?
Movie theaters are now restaurants and total destination locations for fun. The idea of eating, engaging with others and being entertained while watching a movie and having an overall experience generates excitement with multiple revenue streams. All this leads to a customer experience that goes beyond a sale.
Retailers need to return to community, open air shopping areas that do all they can to entertain and engage. The box mall is dying unless it can become a destination of engagement for customers. A recent trip to Greenville, SC was the perfect example of a shopping experience with bands, street shows, restaurants and the entire retail community in concert to make the customer feel great about coming out.
People drive to football games, sporting events, concerts, the beach and mountains. WHY? They love the experience and the engagement level is high. If your brand is not creating and building a customer experience, then your company is dying. If you are a retail business and all you have is products, then save yourself some headache, sell everything and close out – OR, reinvent yourself and engage the customer on every level.
MODA Image and Brand is the company that helps individuals and companies create strong brands that engage the customer at every level. We can help leaders and retailers change direction and return to profitability. It will not be easy, but the results from the changes will keep the company alive.
MODA Image and Brand Consulting is the premier company in the US providing leadership training, brand consulting, personal brand coaching, employee brand training and image and fashion integration into your professional, professional and company brand. We serve Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, personal service firms, executives, universities and associations across the United States. We do this through training sessions, seminars, keynotes, events and one-on-one brand coaching services.
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