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The Renaissance of Retail, Shaping the Future

The Renaissance was a fervent period of cultural, artistic, political and economic “rebirth” and inspired a new confidence in the possibilities of human thought and creations after a period of challenging times.

Ever imagined what it must have been like to live in the times of Michaelangelo & Shakespeare? We could be about to find out.

CV-19 has caused havoc across the globe and across many industries. While some retailers are thriving in current circumstances, others are facing great peril. Yet, for all retailers, now is not the time for panic; it’s the time for action.

The themes we identified prior to CV-19 will just be heightened & hastened once we all get back out there. The key point you should be considering right now are:

  • Consumers crave experience and look to brands with authenticity and honesty at their core.
  • We are still humans and more than ever we are missing the stimuli for our basic instincts.
  • Beware the ‘muddled middle!’ The current situation has only highlighted brands that do not have a clear focus on their core consumers and who don’t deliver a compelling and consistent point of view, executed relentlessly, driven by a ‘benevolent dictatorship’ style of leader, that keeps strong even when the storms come!
  • Collaborate, if ever there was a backdrop to think about partnering up with like-minded people for the greater good then it has to be now. This backdrop will also only encourage us to look at collaboration in different ways. We’re ‘compadres’ not ‘competitors’. An example being the recent picture of the CEOs at Adidas & PUMA meeting up for a run in the forest next to their respective HQs.
  • Brands becoming ‘verbs’ and not just ‘nouns’ still highlights the need to stand for something descriptive and action oriented rather than just being a name.

Perhaps one of the themes that’s changed is that of ‘heightened expectations.’ Will people be more patient and pragmatic post CV-19? Meeting those expectations will only help ensure that the patient and pragmatic attitude remains.

So where should you go from here and what can you be doing to ensure the Renaissance of Retail?

To start with, investing in the re-opening, if you can, makes sense. That “look what we did while you were away” moment will certainly put a smile on the consumer’s face and make that return moment even more memorable. This is not only about the look and feel of the stores but about the improvement in services and experiences.

We spoke previously about the balance between experience and convenience and concluded you not only need both, but need to be smart enough to know how to get the balance right. Balancing between a ‘low-touch’ and a ‘high-touch’ economy will require the same approach and we should consider this as we navigate through the stages of the comeback.

These three points should serve as a useful pointer to guide you:

  • Assess the situation / fear / gather
  • Develop the strategy / fight / grow
  • Make it happen / flourish / go

Speaking with leaders at brands, retailers, consultancies and technical partners, the vocabulary is now all around speed, agility, flexibility & innovation.

Business leaders are taught if you believe your organisation is static or resting on its laurels you invent a crisis to create the environment for change. The current situation is certainly creating that urgency and fuelling the need for a change, the scale of which we have not seen before as leaders.

Legacy, usually a positive word, is now being looked at through a different lens.

The financial sector now passes a ‘legacy lens’ over organisations. Legacy, in the form of long property leases, old systems and outdated thinking from leadership.

The legacy we want to leave will be characterised by speed, agility, flexibility and innovation.

Right now, attack is one of the best forms of defense. Nike’s ‘we are on the offense, always’ mantra will spring into leaders’ minds as there is a need to survive – or continue to thrive – depending on their organisation’s current situation.

Strategy should always match the situation and deciding which of the four strategy approaches – classical, adaptive, shaping or visionary – are best suited for the current climate is going to be crucial, perhaps it’s time for a collaboration of approaches?

When we get back out there the connection between the on-line world and the off-line world will only tighten. Retailers and brands will need a single view of all their stock and a single view of all their customers. They will need true unified commerce.

In the meantime, we know from talking to our existing customers, many plan to take on additional space to help not only convert stock into cash, but to support the re-setting of their stores with the right seasonal offering for when their consumers return to store.

You could look to repurpose the stock into next season, you may even consider recycling the stock but for many the only option is to turn it into cash quickly.

What’s our part to play in all this? As we said at the beginning, the need for the solutions we develop for retailers and brands has only been heightened and hastened given the nature of the current landscape.

Prior to the lockdown the two top topics on CEO’s priority list were sustainability and omnichannel capability. Now these priorities are screaming out to be addressed and, by doing so, you’ll springboard your organisation into the future of retail.

Whether it be …

  • Our quick response deployment of mPOS in additional temporary retail space to enable retailers & brands to be up and running in 7 days to get started quickly in turning their excess inventory back into cash;
  • Our belief that the people in stores will play a more pivotal role than ever before and therefore will need to be equipped to provide the experience and the convenience that consumers will have missed or never seen before;
  • Our agile and ever evolving technology and approach, our belief in best of breed, our focus on the retail sector, our speed and ease to implement;
  • Our global reach as consumers are swift pick up brands much quicker than ever before;
  • Our mobile POS for Unified Commerce, queue busting, assisted selling with endless aisle, self-checkout, real-time data, enhanced product information, off-line mode, inventory management, ship from store, seamless integrations to loyalty programs;

…we’re getting ready for the renaissance.

And we’d love to help you do the same – that’s why we’ve created a special offer to help you react and respond to CV-19. Click the button below to find out more.

Check out our special offer

About the author

Tim Larcombe has spent his working life on the cutting edge of retail. A former VP of Commercial Operations Europe for Levis and Commercial Director Northern Europe for Adidas, he now heads up the UK operations of Sitoo

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