06 Apr Surviving the Retail Tsunami – tips to help you ride the perfect storm
Technology retailers currently face a ‘perfect storm’ of negativity with business rates, import charges and rising labour costs all eating into their margins.
Adding to this, customers are typically holding on to their gadgets for longer. Take mobile phones for instance; replacement has slumped in the UK since 2013 when consumers bought a new device every 20 months. Data from Carphone Warehouse indicates people now only buy every 29 months.
PRESSURE ON YOUR BRAND
Feeling under increasing pressure, retailers are now pushing more and more of the responsibility of staff training and sales onto the brands themselves.
Given this shift, and the rate of change within the technology industry, brands need to find new ways to ensure staff are educated and motivated to sell their products and keep them ahead of the competition.
THE NEW SHOPPER
Today’s shopper journey now typically involves over 14 different touchpoints, online and offline, covering multiple devices and channels. Yes, online growth is increasing by around 15% a year, however 89% of what we buy still involves a physical store.
We know from our own research that John Lewis customers, for example, can spend several sessions researching online and will sometimes make multiple trips to a store, combining online and offline research.
THE POWER OF THE BRAND AMBASSADOR
Our experience shows that consumers are willing to pay a premium in return for the reassurance which comes from expert guidance on options and brand benefits.
This highlights how service and staff knowledge can become THE differentiators on the high street and underlines how important it is for retailers and brands to continually invest in training programs to ensure retail staff are equipped with the tools and information they need.
By demonstrating an understanding of which product features work best when, brand ambassadors will build customer trust in themselves and the brand. They will know the difference between the various smartphone and TV model specifications, digital standards for music and wireless technology and be able to advise with genuine enthusiasm.
While not every customer engagement on the shop floor will result in a sale, positive interactions are bound to have a powerful effect on how the consumer perceives your brand in the future.
A word of warning for anyone lagging behind in the retail revolution: 69% of consumers claim to know more about a product than the shop assistants, so there’s obviously much work that still needs to be done here.
THE ROLE OF THE STORE IS TO INSPIRE
Customer experiences such as in-store demonstrations have a huge impact on the relationship a customer might have with a product, and it may even be the difference between a sale for you, or a sale for your competitor.
“Shopping is as much about entertainment and engagement as it is about utility’’ Devin Wenig, president of eBay Marketplaces, recently told the consultancy McKinsey.
Better still, creating a ‘destination’ will open the door to increased trade-up and replacement business when the opportunity arises.
EXPERIENCE IS KING
Instead of relying on a product sitting on a shelf and expecting it to sell itself, the smart brands and retailers are investing time and money in delivering a more engaging and exciting experience to customers at the point of sale. By doing so, they are delivering value which will create long lasting loyalty and repeat business – whether that be online or instore.
We’ll be exploring these topics and more, as well as sharing new strategies to help retailers and brands regain their mojo in our forthcoming Masterclass ‘SURVIVING THE RETAIL TSUNAMI’. You can find out more information and sign up here.
Sources: Retail7, retailresearch.org