The Digitally Adaptable Survive

The annual National Retail Federation Show in New York brings with it a familiar list of predictions.

Stores will be back creating new customer experiences filled with amazement.

New technologies will create faster-smarter-cheaper.

Retail will be reimagined, again.

These predictions are as surprising as the morning tide. The industry deserves so much more…

Retail, even more than most other industries, is in the midst of a brutal evolution.

Giants of the industry have been revealed as dinosaurs, their vacant stores are of interest only to real estate brokers and business historians.

You know who you are.

Adaptive companies will thrive, and others will allow customers to be helped by the digitally progressive.

The forces of retail’s evolution have been emerging for several years.

They’re forces that reflect re-shaped consumer behavior and competitive innovation, forces accelerated by the global pandemic.

Here are the five most important forces ignore them at your own peril.

  1. Quality products have been commoditized. There is little in the market that is truly unique, and even less that is sustainably unique. Quarter-on-quarter success will emerge from other differentiators.

  2. What matters now: operations, operations, operations. Those who win are those who make it easy for the shopper to say Yes! Easy ordering, products ready to use, easy check-out, flexible fulfillment, and efficient returns. Instant access to information about your product's origin, ingredients, manufacturing, availability, and shipping status is necessary for this to be realized.

  3. It’s not where they buy – it’s where decisions are shaped and narrowed. Every year there’s a percentage of product that is purchased in stores. This is relatively meaningless (and most often quoted by people who sell stuff for stores). What’s far more important: the numbers that speak to where the decision journey begins. This happens when shopper-critical product and product attribute data (Low in carbs? Ecologically-sourced? The cotton comes from where?) is made easily available via website or app.

  4. Affinity is today’s critical metric. That’s defined as the percentage of your shoppers who use all of your channels and purchase regularly within a 12 twelve-month period. In short, they’re loyalists. Everyone’s job is to grow affinity, to grow the numbers of consumers who think first of your brand, and whose first digital visit is to your digital platform.

  5. Don’t define yourself as a retailer. You’re a digital platform of products and services. Amazon is a platform. Walmart is a platform. Brands that want to catch and keep shoppers offer the information they need to make their decision to become a loyalist. They operate marketplaces to provide a greater range than any store can contain – and to cement a consumer’s connection to your digital platform.

As Darwin said so long ago: it’s not the largest, nor the strongest. It’s those who are the most adaptable to what are irreversible changes.

Talk to us at The Provenance Chain Network and see how we can help you adapt to the evolution of retail.