In fact, all of my teaching is related to this topic.
This month I was asked to predict the future of retail along with 13 other retail experts. Here's what I'm confident will continue to unfold in the months, quarters, and years to follow:
The barriers to entry will continue to lower while success standards continue to rise.
“Constraints promote creativity, and this is no different for the future of retail. New technologies have dropped the barriers to entry into the retail industry, but the bar for success gets higher every year.
Business size is no longer indicative of success and speed to market isn’t universally rewarded. We’re seeing some of the most powerful brands promote lifestyle values instead of just focusing on instant gratification.
So how can we learn from brands that are thriving in this changing environment? Here are a few things merchants should consider as they prepare for future challenges:
- Value your cash flow: Cash flow management is vital to any healthy business, but it can also help enhance your brand narrative. For example, take a fresh look at how you buy inventory (frequency, breadth or depth) or evaluate your hours of operation (by day or by season). Creative solutions in areas like these can enhance your brand and even make other changes less risky.
- Value intimacy over attention: All brands that have built a loyal customer base have one thing in common: They’re focused on making their true customer happy. Your brand behaviors should be focused on creating intimacy with your best customers. Build your efforts around your ideal buyer persona — the customer who repeatedly buys at full price, who reads your marketing emails and who engages with your social media posts. Don’t chase the attention of broad, uninterested audiences at the cost of ignoring the loyalists in front of you.
- Become a learning leader: Leaders who seek to learn from each opportunity synthesize and apply lessons faster. In an industry that moves quickly and inundates customers with choices, being a responsive leader has never been more important. Take time each season to reflect on your successes and failures. Seek outside support or insights to elevate your own skills if you see a gap. Just taking these steps will put you ahead of almost all of your peers who are stuck in the weeds every day.
Using constraints to fuel creative solutions and developing your business acumen will serve you now and in the future. Even better, it will help you develop brand-loyal customers and carve out a strong market space.”