Top tips for retailers from some of the industry’s sharpest minds
We’re halfway through 2022 and we’ve already been lucky enough to speak with some of the most awesome people working in retail right now.
Retail never stands still. It’s always evolving. The combination of new technology, changing customer behavior, and the melting pot of our wider culture come together to present both new challenges and opportunities for retailers big and small.
To be successful, you have to stay ahead of the game. If you standstill, you’ll get left behind. Now, this doesn’t mean racing at breakneck speed to embrace every new trend under the sun. It means working smarter, being more sophisticated, and challenging yourselves and your teams to raise the bar as to what’s possible.
Doing this on your own is a tall order. And the reality is, we can all learn from each other.
It’s why we ask the awesome retailers we get the chance to speak to what their advice to others would be. What are their tips? What would they say to fellow ambitious retailers?
Here, we’ve collated some of the best tips to share with you:
Nikos Delinikos – Global Operations Manager, Eton Shirts
1. Connect with customers. Retail is about connecting with customers and building relationships with them. It is – and always will be – key to everything. During Covid, where there was zero physical contact with customers, lots of retailers – like us at Eton Shirts – used tools like Zoom, Teams, FaceTime and WhatsApp to have a direct connection with customers. As we now transition back to where we were before the pandemic we’re adding elements like this that served us really well over the past two years to make the experience we offer even better. We need to incorporate more digital solutions into the stores, offer customers more availability than we ever have before and get back to building relationships with customers again.
2. Have the ability to adapt. The environment is constantly changing so you need to be very keen on wanting to change and wanting to understand the new ways of working in retail. Understand the environment that you’re in – especially the business side of it – and see how everything is connected. If you’re not doing this, then you’re going to miss out.
3. Understand that retail is about building relationships. Take the automotive industry as an example. Polestar, the Swedish electrical car company, opened a store on the busiest shopping street in Stockholm. It’s something no car retailer has ever done before. It’s a showroom, with one car in it, but every other car is offered digitally. But they are where their customers are rather than being 20 minutes outside of the city in a warehouse with 500 cars. Tesla and Ikea are now doing the same thing. They’re focussing on building smaller locations in higher footfall areas and this is what I mean when I say retail is about understanding the environment and building relationships.
4. Understand the next generation. If I was a CEO today, the most important thing I’d be doing is trying to understand the next generation and the new customers – because they don’t shop like our parents did. Ask yourself: “Where are they? What do they think? What do they want?”
If you don’t connect with these customers then, eventually, you’ll be out of business. Understanding new behaviors is key and one of the ways of doing this is to open locations in the best places where these people are – then you’ll be able to understand them better.
Read more about Nikos’ views on the latest retail trends here.
Bård Kvamme – Director, Norrøna
1. Keep moving forward. I’ve been in retail for twenty years and the most successful retailers are those who don’t settle. Consumer behavior, employee expectations, and technology all change all the time and if you don’t change with them you’ll get left behind.
2. Prioritize the experience. Physical retail without any kind of experience is boring – especially when it’s so easy to buy everything online. It’s why you need some kind of X-factor. If you offer your customers something different – like the events we run in our stores – then they’ll continue to shop with you and visit your stores. Having people in your stores who really care about customers is also key. In 2022, if your stores don’t offer some kind of elevated experience then you need to develop one really quickly or else your business will die.
3. It’s all about the customer. Retail is always all about the customer. It’s about being on the floor, speaking to customers, listening to them and understanding what they want. There’s a risk, especially for fast growing retailers, that top management becomes detached from what’s actually happening in the stores. It’s why we made the decision that, even though we’re growing and expanding into more markets, we want to keep the mentality of being close to the business. We spend a lot of time in our stores, with our shop managers, and with our staff so we can be close to our customers and understand exactly what’s going on. Whatever you do, always make sure you stay consumer centric.
Discover Norrøna’s secrets to success here.
Kasper Obel – Retail Director, Les Deux
1. Give your customers a reason why. Customers crave convenience and, with this, you need to give them a reason why they should invest time in going to your physical store – especially when it’s so easy and cheap to buy everything online. Figure out the reason why you exist and how you can tell this story to your end consumers.
2. Every detail counts. Everything you do adds up to creating the end experience for your customers and every detail counts. Retail is one of the toughest industries and it’s why you need to constantly be looking at the details because that’s where it really counts. Everyone running retail for the past few years knows it’s not easy and you’re not going to have everything handed to you but never give up.
3. Constantly be with the consumer. Finally, be where your customers are. You need to always be in touch and in tune with your customers wherever they are. And you have to give them a convenient, fun experience.
Alongside this advice, we’ve also put together two different guides which you can download for free.
You can learn how changing your mindset to retail software can transform your CX here.
And discover all the benefits of hardware flexibility here.