Don't know about you, I've been around in multi-channel retailing for more years than even I care to remember but a few of the key things I used to do, and others like me was to;

  1. Walk the town - get to know the buzz, are there any changes affecting or impacting footfall to our store. If I'm looking to open a new outlet get a 'feel' for the Town/City.
  2. Visit our competitors - take a look (and a few notes) at the competition, see what's on offer and if they were doing anything different that would make customers shop with them and not my stores.
  3. Check the stock holding and range - do we have all the stock on the sales floor or is some of it still sat in the stockroom. Is it laid out so customers can move around and find the product easy enough.

I would do all the above on a very regular basis and would expect my various management teams to do the same, retail is detail as we say in the trade. 

I don't know about you but at times I get the impression that those fortunate enough to still be sat in today's retail ivory towers have forgotten some of those basics. 

I really do wonder how many of the leadership team actually 'shop' where/how their customers 'shop' - and if they do are they asking 'are others doing the same as me'?

What do they do to 'experience' things that can help inform them of changes in consumer, what does this behaviour tell them?.

Change is driven by leadership mindset, businesses that cling to a legacy thinking mindset 'we can't change because of' type of excuses, or our 'legacy systems can't just be thrown away', or 'our leaders don't do what they ask us to do' are the most common 'blockers' of any change.

When I look to benchmark strong 'social leaders' they all seem to adopt five key behaviours. 

They are…

1) Authentic – They are “real”; in other words, genuine, believable human beings that you warm to. It’s one of the reasons why leaders are increasingly outperforming brand social media channels.

2) Conversational – They get involved in the conversation, by replying to comments and questions. “Likes” aren’t enough. And, it’s not just a broadcast all about them. Connected leaders listen.

3) Have a purpose that inspires – Connected leaders’ content isn’t just there for the sake of it, rehashing posts from the PR team. It has a purpose that relates to their core beliefs and mission.

4) Share insights – Leaders haven’t got there by accident – it’s because of a lot of hard work, commercial acumen and talent. People want to know how they got there. So their insights and opinions are invaluable.

5) Present – This is both about having a regular cadence of posts and activity (no drive-by Likes) and thinking holistically about their digital footprint and public profile. For top leaders it’s not enough just to be on LinkedIn. They need to think bigger and more broadly.

So, how does your leadership team stack up?

If you use social platforms for something other than to talk about you, by which I mean your constant digital advertising intrusions and start to look at it for a more strategic approach you might just get back to understanding the 'why' you're not as hot as you once were. 

The smart retailers of the 21st century use this free to access, free to use medium to help inform, educate, engage and above all 'listen' to what people are saying the chances are you can identify the gaps in your 'Why'