Another day, another headline about struggling retailers, this time with Canadian fast fashion retailer 'Forever 21' filing for bankruptcy.
'Forever 21' a fast fashion retailer who invested their business around 'millenial's' with physical stores, and held back from where consumer habits were changing are now paying the price. It seems those loyal millenial's have now grown up (relatively speaking) and moved shopping habits elsewhere, possibly to 'Primark' but definitely online, and most likely into the social commerce space?
Fickle lot those socially savvy consumers eh!
Let's be honest with ourselves, retail adopted the homogenisation and the blandness of 'corporate multiple retailing' long before the internet kicked it in the balls, add to this the constant pressure on rising cost, the not very environmentally friendly splurge of fast fashion and a simple lack of 'retail theatre has led to this opportunity to re-invent what was.
The unabated rise of online shopping now via Apps and mobile, along with shopping via social media, and Gen Z (with their parents) using tech platforms rather than the 'Mall' to go and do their shopping, it's obviously a difficult time for retailers, regardless if your'e online or offline.
I came across (link below) this interview that discusses how today's physical retailer needs to compete by being 'experiential' if they want to attract the consumer and drive footfall back into the High St and the Mall, something in my opinion that's very sadly missing.
The reality is finally hitting home for all retailers who have languished for many years in the belief that they will always have time to to adapt to this brave new digital world - how wrong they were!.
The biggest change in retailing has already occurred, it happened some 20+ years ago when many traditional retailers thought that having a website was a 'nice to have', today you don't have the luxury of another 5 years to turn the tanker around, the harsh facts are that the consumer will sink it for you if you haven't already adapted to where they are today.
There are very strong similarities with this story and how companies look at how they use social media.
Gen Z, Millenial's, or any other media agency dice and slice the consumer for 'targeting' buzzword that describes people who disrupt the status quo have already disrupted it, these are the people who are already driving the next wave of retail via 'Social Commerce'.
Social media isn't a place to move your advertising budget to post your 'offers', services, and talk about you, it's a place to be social and if you don't really understand the 3 pillars of being on social you will always lose out to your competitor, or a competitor who is yet to be born.
- A great personal brand - NOT a CV
- An aligned and engaged business network.
- Great storytellers.
Oh, and they all need to be great listeners!!!
As someone once said to me "It's easier to give birth than it is to raise the dead" - sound familiar?
We live in a world today where digital is mainly a convenience, physical retail should be a unique experience to amplify the brand, and yes it needs to cover its cost. In my opinion taking a look at what’s happening in China with eCommerce is a business imperative for all online retailers, not withstanding the option for a physical store presence in travel destinations.