I write this blog as most of the world anticipates their version of release from lockdown.
Retail in all its forms and sectors in particular can't wait to get back to 'retailing'.
According to the 2019 MIT Sloan Management Review,
"companies that have embraced digital transformation are 26% more profitable than their average industry competitors and see 12% higher market valuation."
This piece of research came out before the Covid catastrophe hit those businesses totally unprepared for the continued shift to online.
Who would have thought in early 90s that making an international money transfer, speaking to someone across borders or even streaming entertainment could be done by just one device, your phone!
Businesses are impacted first of all by a combination of external forces, mainly the customer who is responding to a nearest competitor as they seem to be able to better understand the 'why' than you do.
They are also impacted by internal forces that are still trying to make what worked in the early days of the millenium slightly better and prior to this crisis didn't really take the time to look at the changing 'behaviour' of the customers who once thought you were the brand to be with - read Department Stores, Arcadia, and the list goes on.
Since the crisis eCommerce sales have rocketed with several sectors reporting they have had the equivalent of 10 years growth in just over 3 months, whilst others in physical retail have now come to an abrupt halt with the ensuing job loss fallout!!
Buzzwords are everywhere today, the term omni-channel entered into the digital arena some 15 years ago as B2C retailers woke up to the fact that they now have to cater for more than a couple of consumer touch-points.
From my experience some companies translated this term almost literally and took it as having to be omnipotent.
Which for some meant that most of the time the marketing teams were distracted from the job of marketing which is to not only grow the customer base, but also be the 'go to' people when a company needs a big 'growth' problem to solve along with strategy and tactical activities via channels that provided the most return.
Nowadays there is not physical versus digital in luxury, the fusion of phygital touchpoints between consumers and the brand is a huge opportunity for all retailers.
The physical selling ceremony should complement the online shopping experience, creating a seamless shopping experience. Brands should offer their consumers an organic shopping experience, throughout the entire buying process.
Here's a couple of examples;
Louis Vuitton, one of the most visionary brands in this era, recently built a monogrammed red container in Beverly Hills, with no natural light or windows to sneak in.
The interior of the container, completely black, allowed light-coloured clothes to become the stars of the happening.
The social network Snapchat is one of the pioneers of luxury virtual reality for retail.
Dior is partnering with the platform by launching the virtual Dior-ID virtual trainer trial filter, which allows users to try on Dior shoes thanks to the Snapchat filter.
In this way, consumers can easily project the item to their feet, attracting the consumer towards the feeling of ownership of the newly-launched product.
Today's consumer isn't behaving how yesterdays consumer was that's for sure.
If I was sat as part of your leadership team I would be spending every waking hour obsessing about the opportunity we can leverage from these semi-permanent changes in behaviour.
Half the worlds population is now on social media - use that privilege wisely and you will reap huge rewards.
Experiencing the product beforehand through technological innovations, such as Augmented and Virtual reality, aims to reducing the physical risk of trying before buying and returning the product.