Businesses, especially those in multi-channel retail that operate with a fixed mindset seem to spend an inordinate amount of time, energy, and resources ensuring that any change is incremental. 

They tend to want to continue with more of the same old same old in anticipation that things will work themselves out, "last seasons product didn't go well but if we added a smaller strap here, change the colour to blue, make it longer/shorter"  isn't really a consumer focused mindset is it?

It's all a bit like getting out that Chinese menu, studying it for 5 minutes and ordering the same thing you ordered last time!

Without a doubt retail has been in turmoil for sometime, everywhere we look from the traditional High Street, to those household name Department Stores that at one time seemed invincible. 

They tell us the reason it's all falling apart is because of high rent/rates, yet retail property is seen by investors as nothing other than a low cost commodity. 

If it's not the rent/rates argument it's the old chestnut of blaming 'online'.

I've been around the retail industry for sometime operating across all areas and channels of the retail enterprise, so I do understand that there's no silver bullet to all these problems. 

So what can all channel retailers learn from where the industry is going, what can they learn from huge successes that don't yet seem to be impacting the 'Why'?

China is leading the way, as such if you and your leadership team don't have a focus, watching brief and looking to test and trial what these huge companies are doing in the biggest market in the world then you might as well pack up now.

Social platforms like 'TikTok' might seem yet another millennial or Gen Z fad to you, but if I told you that in 2019 the app was downloaded more than any of the Facebook stable of apps including Instagram. 

My Daughter whose a musician started using the App a week ago (over Xmas 2019) she already amassed over 50k followers, along with far more engagement than FB or Insta combined. 

What about 'live streaming', do you even know what it is, what it can do to help you recover your 'Why'?

Top KOLs like Li Jiaqi and Viya made headlines of their record-breaking 1 billion RMB and 2.7 billion RMB Gross Merchandise sold during 2019 Single’s Day sales.

Kuaishou, the No. 2 biggest short video Apps, is taking live-streaming to another level, recording 100 million live-streaming DAUs by December 2019.

Most of the live-streaming campaigns today are simply sales pitches. Content quality is not too different from the most traditional TV infomercial. Even for brands with the largest live-streaming audience, such as Xiaomi, Adidas and Kiehl’s. This used to make sense since traditionally live-streaming target particular audiences who are price-sensitive and have lots of free time. 

Influencers like Li Jiaqi are changing the audience mix, bringing first-time users from top tier cities. These users will demand much higher quality content.

Users watch Li Jiaqi not only for discounts but also for the unique shopping experience: bringing tier 1 celebrities like Yang Yang, the engagement with his Little Assistant often terms out to be the highlight; limited quantity created lots of excitement for customers. 

All of this is here NOW, your leadership team you should at least be aware of it at worst, and be testing some of it today at best.

I can't say it enough - what was is no more!!!!

Forgive the analogy:

Rear view mirrors are for looking at where you have been and what's behind. The windscreen is to allow you to see where you're going, and that Sat Nav can help you get there but you still have to do the driving - for now!

So if your leadership team spend more time looking in the rear view mirror don't be surprised when you run into bumps in the road, which will also end up with a crash.

If you want to take a look at a few of the big trends coming out of China take a look at the link below. If you would like to discuss how you might learn, leverage and reset your 'Why' feel free to drop me a note.