Who will be left standing after the next retail shakeout?
Through a special arrangement, what follows is a summary of an article from WayfinD, a quarterly e-magazine filled with insights, trends and predictions from the retail and foodservice experts at WD Partners.
We can say confidently that only those retailers embracing at least two of the three fundamental consumer driven strategies in our industry will be around much longer — Discount (D), Convenience (C) and Third Wave (TW).
Discount (D): As a strategy, discount is serving two very real needs: one, the American consumer’s psychic desire for a good deal (it’s in our DNA); and two, the needs of a growing consumer segment of the U.S. population losing economic ground as real wages stagnate, decreasing buying power. As recently noted in a study published in Harvard Business Review, how customers perceive price is as important as price itself. That’s one reason why, as a strategy, discount encompasses far more than the traditional retail “discounters” within the industry, and means much more than simple couponing. Not counting the one percent on top of the American consumer pyramid, there’s nothing that is more important to shoppers than price.
Convenience (C): Spearheaded by Amazon.com, this is the survival strategy that everyone (yep, everyone) must make a priority in 2018. The strategy includes excellent e-com, free shipping, BOPAS, home delivery, showroom (smaller) stores, lockers, pop ups, etc. In short, all the tiny (and big) fundamentals that make e-com more convenient need to be brought to life physically to make shopping your brand anywhere as convenient and frictionless as possible.
Third Wave (TW): If you live in a thriving urban neighborhood, you know plenty of one-off coffee shops and independent bookstores pulling this off; survival by quality, great environment, newness and spot on service. Urban Outfitters, Whole Foods, Apple and Starbucks get it too, as well as new players like Warby Parker. It’s the only strategy that retailers can still do better than Amazon.
To keep standing tall in 2018, figure out your primary survival strategy. Consumers are actually demanding that you at least commit to convenience. So, is it Discount & Convenience or Third Wave & Convenience? All three? Live and breathe your survival strategy within your brand positioning. And go further: Start doing things better than anyone else in your category.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you agree that the three brand positions mentioned in the article — Discount, Convenience and Third Wave — sum up the options available to retailers to survive the ongoing retail disruption? Which combination is most practical for department stores and other chains under threat of demise?