Why don’t more retailers ‘get’ curation?
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.
Do retailers realize how important curation is when it comes to differentiating their brands? Short answer: Nope.
If you can’t explain to customers why you’re different, then the only thing you have available to compete on is price — and maybe availability.
With curation, you’re adding value to the content by drawing the most important ideas out of the noise. You’ve gone through the effort of finding important perspectives and you’re helping your customers save time by bringing together the most appealing items for their enjoyment. Even if you don’t own the brands — even if you don’t own the opinions about which brands are better than others — you still must rely on content to help set yourself apart from every other retailer who can get their hands on the exact same brands.
It’s also increasingly important for assortment selection. With Amazon.com lurking behind every browser click, there is no way retailers can win on breadth of product selection. You can’t out-assort Amazon or Google. But what you can do is add value to your assortment by helping shoppers understand that they can save time and increase their cool factor by relying on you, the expert, for the best stuff.
Yet, as you’ll see when our latest e-commerce benchmark report comes out, creating a differentiating assortment is bottom of the list in operational challenges. Only 11 percent of respondents cited it as a top-three challenge. I feel like brand manufacturers generally understand this concept of curation better than most retailers — they have to justify their price premium to consumers somehow. But I would think general merchandise retailers would understand this even better and they simply do not.
You can’t out-Amazon Amazon. But whether you have your own brands or a bunch of national brands, you can out-curate them. And when you do that, you naturally create vitally important content — an explanation of why you made the choices you did that helps become the foundation of differentiation and a way to create engagement with shoppers.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What role does curation provide in helping retailers differentiate from the competition? What are the best ways for retailers to actively communicate their role as curators of needed products and services for their customers?