The Year in Review: What Did 2015 Mean For Retail?
Through a special arrangement, what follows is a summary of an article from Retail Paradox, RSR Research’s weekly analysis on emerging issues facing retailers, presented here for discussion.
So how did retail do this year? In looking back at the topics I touched on in 2015, here are my top take-aways for the year.
1. Brand integrity is inescapable. I started 2015 with an article entitled "Brand Integrity: The Watch-Phrase for 2015." The more I look at how retailers use social media and digital channels, the more I become convinced that social media is where retailers must prove that they genuinely care about their customers and that they genuinely believe in the lifestyle values the brand supports and conveys. If all you give them to care about is price, then that is indeed all they will care about.
2. There is a major mind shift happening around digital and the store. At the beginning of 2015, I warned retailers to not get caught up with bright shiny objects when it came to keeping stores relevant. Our store research showed a wariness with gimmicks, like smart dressing rooms, even when those gimmicks drive meaningful sales improvements. Retailers haven’t quite figured out how to bring digital into the store, but they seem to be taking a new look at employees and their role. If we can figure out digital as part of how the employee enables the customer experience, it will go a long way towards helping retailers figure out and embrace the kinds of changes that need to happen in stores to keep them relevant.
3. To get to where you’re going, it helps to know where you’ve been. My whopping 9-part series of articles on the history of omnichannel drew the most feedback in my blogging career. But it is crucially important to understand how we got to the crossroads we currently face and the decisions made in the past that led us to the challenges we struggle with right now. With cloud transformation revolutionizing how IT is delivered, and with omnichannel maybe understood but certainly not a fully-executed strategy, there is a lot of change ahead of retail. And a lot of chances to make the same kinds of mistakes over and over again, if we don’t pay attention to where we came from.
Which of the trends mentioned in the article will be the most challenging for retailers to execute? Which are most critical to master?