Retail is Returning and Evolving
For most businesses, once they get up and running, they follow a consistent business model and ride that out year after year with minor tweaks here and there as revenues and retail climates call for adjustment. But with the sudden arrival of a global pandemic and the hurry-scurry to get a new plan for consumers and retail outlets in place, the old reliable ways just didn’t work anymore. This year looks like we’re on the path to the next normal, whatever that is. One thing is for sure: the future does not look the same anymore. Regardless of what changes and develops with the times, there are always a few things that never grow obsolete.
- REAL-LIFE CONNECTIONS ARE STILL AT THE HEART OF BUSINESS. If we’ve learned anything over this past year with social distancing, curbside pickup and touchless delivery, it’s that we crave the human touch, the friendly smile, the warmth of personal interaction. Creating connections with the people who have a great interest in the products or services that you offer is one way to keep them coming back. People like to work with those they like and trust and are familiar with. There are lots of ways to build strong relationships with customers, and the easiest way is customer service. Serving someone well is the best way to get them to trust and remember you.
- EXPERIENTIAL SHOPPING SPEAKS TO PEOPLE. Demonstrations, rewards, and discounts are all failsafe ways to help consumers experience your store on a different level. Friendly sales people and helpful customer service agents provide personal attention to people who walk through your doors, enhancing their experience of being inside your business. And don’t forget what an attractive display or a demo brings to the table – excitement and a memorable connection with your brand.
- MOST PEOPLE SHOP WITH THEIR SENSES. If people can connect with a product in a sensory way – see it, smell it, taste it, feel it, hear it – they are more likely to engage with it. This is ancient marketing wisdom, and it hasn’t changed. I still remember the first time I walked into a Publix grocery store – decades ago now – and was struck by the clean sleekness of their store brand packaging. I remember the smell of the leather store in my hometown mall, even though I haven’t been there in years. Appealing to people’s senses makes an impression on them.
- PEOPLE LOVE NEW PRODUCTS! It might be the novelty of it. It might be the adrenaline of being the first to try it. It might be any number of things, but people love to hear about and see new products. They like to try them out. The energy around a new product is enticing to consumers across the board. And rolling out new products and services reinforces your brand, whether the purchase is initially made or not.
- SYSTEMS AND PROCESSES STREAMLINE EVERYTHING. High successful retailers make us of smart tech and software that allows them to create systems and processes for every stage of their business, from inventory to sales to customer activity. It also provides a smooth and enjoyable customer experience. Consumers like being able to shop without worrying about how to navigate the store or if the WIFI will recognize their phone or what the checkout process is. Systems keep everything rolling and seamless.
These 5 elements of retail shopping are classic and they’ll never go out of style. Surveys show that people crave consistency and reliability, and even in the craziest of unpredictable times, these things will help your business stay consistent and reliable for your customers.
This article was inspired by “Trade Shows Will Evolve but These 5 Things Will Remain the Same” by Briquelle Neyens and first appeared at skyline.com
Photo by Ross Findon