To get people out of the 'stay at home' anxiety' mindset means that today this should be a unique experience for the consumer, something that not only amplifies the brand, but moves it on from what has become a mainly 'transactional' experience for many, and yes it needs to cover its cost.

I recently saw what I thought was a great quote, and for me sums up the problem with mass market retailing in the 21st Century;

"Don't Be a Zebra in a Herd of Zebra's"

So, what can retail do when consumers are scarce, revenues are at a trickle, resources are being diminished by the day, and you operate a model at much higher fixed rate than all those online businesses that have been nibbling away at you for many years?

If retail spent a lot more time focusing and obsessing on changes in consumer behaviour as opposed to making things incrementally better from an internal perspective we might actually start to see some green shoots of customer centric innovative thinking.

As the retail sector continues its unbundling of department store and big box formats there is a glimpse of hope, but it requires an agile and open mindset from leaders and employees alike.

The first step is to get back to the basics of delivering on the customer’s wants and needs, building trust, and demonstrating that our appreciation of the individual shopper goes beyond the sum and substance of his/her transactions. 

From where I sit I can see 3 huge opportunities for not just retail, but also many other sectors with a desire to not only remain 'front of mind' with consumers, but to also to get them involved in a way that's been proven to encourage them (lockdown aside) to leave that 'safe bubble' called 'stay at home'.

  1. Visual Magic
  2. Sustainability and Re-use
  3. Social & Streaming
  • Visual Magic - If you're active on LinkedIn you can't help noticing the number of people looking for work. One of those talent sectors also hit by this crisis is that of the 'Visual Merchandising' teams. These are the extremely creative people who most of the time are utilized by retailers to 'dress the window', position the 'promotion's', and generally create visual magic from extremely tight budgets and available resource. 

When done right visual merchandising (VM) has the ability to literally create a silk purse out of a sows ear, which in turn can draw people in off the street and help turn a window display into a great revenue generator. 

There certain key times of the year when VM really does come into it's own and these are the main calendar events such as Valentines Day, Easter, Christmas, and lets not forget 'The Sales'.

But, what if we turned to them in this crisis and asked them to literally think outside the box (or store in this case) and come up with something we know is lacking which is good old 'retail theatre'. Something that focuses on a really cool customer centric experience - think Xmas market type of pop up locations, think about segmenting the department store experience into a small store format on a temporary basis - JUST GET CREATIVE!

For ideas 2 & 3 follow the link below