Everywhere we look today we can access virtually any kind of content.
If your on Facebook, Instagram, and now even on LinkedIn you will no doubt have seen the 'Go Live' function which allows anyone to suddenly become a 'live streaming' media star to the masses.
"Shops are shutting and online sales are booming. Some lockdown rules have recently been lifted, but central London is not the bustling shopping destination it once was. Its status is under threat"
In this uncertain retail environment, several previously online-only entrepreneurs are soon to start trading from a "pop-up" shop in Oxford Street - which in pre-Covid times was Europe's busiest high street.
In my experience you can introduce new processes, new technology, and yes even new people, but if the mindset of the company (it's culture) doesn't change then it's all wasted time and effort.
Traditional retailers that failed to recognise the potential impact of eCommerce have been seeing casualties for well over a decade, and this certainly isn't something new that was brought about by the Covid crisis.
Following some 3 months of enforced 'lockdown' what we are seeing is people aching to physically 'socialise' and 'experience' the things they have been lacking.
As far as 'experiences' go physical retail (pre-Covid) in my opinion seems to have leaned too far into the transactional experience rather than what should be a combination of a social and shopping experience.
Like you I live in the real world of hard knocks retailing.
A world that over these past 12 months has become even harder for all forms of retail. So anything that can provide an edge and a good enough reason to encourage consumers out into the high street has to be worthy of consideration - right?
So, what if a retailer created an enhanced and locally available customer experience in the form of a pop up store?
A mindset that leverages Xmas market style stalls, using social media as the communication channel and its audience as part of the social media 'live stream' function, thus leveraging the ability to stream to an already engaged audience - would that get people back to the stores?
Well, now the UK's (once premier) shopping destination 'London's Oxford Street' is seizing the initiative to entice people to visit but to also help give a lift up to many a small retail business;
In the link below some of them explain why they've paid to spend between one and four days at 58 Oxford Street.
Victoria Jenkins runs Unhidden, a clothing brand for people with physical disabilities. She started selling online in November.
The Islington-based entrepreneur has signed up to spend a day in the shop as a way to "test the water".
"What we're doing is brand new. We've never sold on a London High Street before," she says.
The 35-year-old says she thinks some customers want to be able go into a shop, so she is actively looking for opportunities for pop-ups or to open concession stands in big stores.
Department stores and multiple retail chains should take note because this is possibly one of the easiest ways to enhance the experiential element that people crave.
Before, and in particular since Covid I talk to lots of companies who say they are keen to change but decline to discover the internal 'change makers' or recruit external ones because of the lame excuse called 'culture fit'.
I'm not naive, I've been around the retail sector for many years, I've operated across all areas of retail in a number of different countries. I understand that they all carry a huge fixed and legacy systems cost base.
For many the biggest of those cost are indeed the physical retail store network, so I get that you can't simply cull stores overnight (unless your Covid) but to build the future you have to leverage the past, or as someone once quoted me "It's easier to give birth than it is to raise the dead".
Now is the time to adopt a 'leverage and build' strategy, not when you're failing and playing catch up.........
Either way, the concept of pop-ups often capitalises on consumers’ fear-of-missing-out (FOMO) mentality. Today’s audience is constantly the next best thing, and pop-ups are a way for retailers to talk about and share their business with others at a time when experiences are a far greater currency than simple in-store transactions.