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 consumersare scarce, revenues are at a trickle, resources are being diminishedby 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?

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 basicsof 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. 

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 obvious main calendar events such as Valentines Day, Easter, Christmas, and lets not forget 'The Sales'.

But, what if we turned to them in this financial 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!