The daily pressure on physical retailers around the world to meet the expected demands from consumers has never been greater.
The bar to compete has been lifted higher than ever before with the ongoing rise of digital commerce from eCommerce websites, Apps, Social Media, and now 'Social Commerce'.
For many retailers that bar has proven to be far too high as retail casualties appear in our headlines on an almost daily basis.
As an international retail brand and business consultant I constantly see brands/companies getting fixated with logo's, mission statements, AI, VR, tech projects, and other such activity - all of which distracts from the real reason the company/brand is struggling.
If the foundations are crumbling you need to fix that first.
We are all consumers of someone else's business, every day we make an unconscious bias in our decision to shop with one company/brand over another.
Yet it seems that those sat in privileged leadership roles seem to forget that the first place to look at how your business might be changing is to focus on consumer behaviour, not tech. The job of leaders is inspire the consumer first and foremost, ensuring you can do this and maintain a commercially competitive advantage.
My day job is to help businesses that have stalled, stagnated, or worse still in rapid decline.
"The biggest threat to any company is to lose sight of the 'why'".
I'll say it again - "The biggest threat to any company is to lose sight of the 'why'".
The 'why' is your brand equity.
So if you've elected to do more of the same, and move away from the core reason 'why' by product or category extension you have probably given ground to other brands/businesses who have managed to take away your 'why'.
And if you think you still have years to resolve it, your definitely in shit street - FACT.
What I mean by this is that every single business I've been called into when dealing with a turnaround were on a race to the bottom because they lost focus on the core reason 'why' consumers previously chose to shop with them over a competitor.
When I ask the leadership team to explain to me 'why' they think the consumer has ceased going to them ahead of the competition, they then go on to explain to me how they got customers to the company previously WTF - and there you have it......the biggest indicator of an internal mindset disconnected from the external factors impacting the company.
Transformation isn't about digital, channels, tech, Apps, websites, or other fixed mindset stuff, it's totally about being consumer centric, then working out how you can add value by leveraging what you have to build the transformation bridges to the new future.
Consumer's don't think in tech silo's, they don't think in channels, they're all very selfish, they just want to learn more about you, and then choose the best way to 'buy' from you.
Your job is to figure out how to do that, and knowing the 'WHY' consumers should choose you over a competitor is one of the biggest and ongoing roles any company/brand can do.
And if you're 'Why' cannot be regained, you have probably got 3 choices;
- Stay as you are - die slowly.
- Re-position with a 'leverage and build' strategy.
- Kill it yourself.
As the saying goes "Sometime's it's easier to give birth than it is to raise the dead"
Consumers are looking for 'hassle free' shopping experiences. Companies have translated this to mean more 'tech/digital' projects, when the answer is something a lot more simple and less cost.