I get that by now all product plans are sorted, and it's most likely sales, marketing, and staff training activity is in full swing as retail enters what has traditionally been it's most critical trading quarter of the year.

I totally get that for some they are all extremely busy trying to keep the retail lights on. No doubt they will have many 'advisors' as part of the board who also have their own initiatives and want to do more of the same?.

The key issue for many this year will be logistics due to the overwhelming shortage of qualified lorry drivers needed to deliver all manner of goods. We are being told we might have to make a choice between food or presents!

So, here's something to cogitate that might just immerse and engage your existing customers and help you connect with new ones.  

Is it unique - probably not, but what really is?

Are others doing it - probably not as part of a omni-present strategic initiative in the UK.

Can any retailer do it - definitely.

It doesn’t require more investment in people, product, or tech

No catch, no hidden fees, and definitely no obligation to do anything with me other than share your approach, learnings and ideas.

Note: an eCommerce site will be needed.

For the most part, e-commerce hasn’t changed in the past decade or so. 

It’s an efficient way to buy something you know you want—what the industry calls mission shopping—but it’s hampered by the challenges of promoting product discovery and impulse purchases. For every physical store there are related employees, many of whom will be socially and digitally savvy individuals in their own right, all with their own online community of friends and family. 

Each store will be located in several locations but also close enough to each community.

How about providing a 'digital' personal shopping service by leveraging employees to deliver a one on one (pre-booked) Zoom style video call, this is an idea that the 'luxury' sector turned to at the height of the pandemic in order to remain front of mind and offer a curated service level to VIP's. If done right it will allow for a service level and experience that can be highly personalised with any sales being managed from the distribution centre and not the store.

By taking a leaf out of the chinese digital playbook retailers today should also think about using local 'live streaming' events. These 'planned' events could/should include local singers, songwriters, bands and groups all performing from the store. They can also feature local artisans and street food producers, along with other local community involvement.

Think magazine, entertainment, retail theatre and audience involvement -  not transaction!

By leveraging the expertise of the retail employees products can be demonstrated, showcased, and if they (employees) wanted to take it even further provide an online fashion/product show.

Those benefits are the point of a traditional store, which, despite its troubles and costs, is still very good at using employees, merchandising, and ambience to persuade people to buy more stuff.

Turning hundreds of employees into virtual sales consultants can require a hefty investment, but the retail landscape of tomorrow will require all this and more if it is to not only compete with eCommerce, but also be better equipped to understand the significant rise in 'social commerce'

This is 21st Century retail - its available without huge investment in legacy systems and is extremely agile whilst leveraging what you already have.

Or will it be just another window display with more tinsel and baubles like previous years?