Retail Market Leaders

A theme across the industry is productivity within retail stores. With minimum wage increasing, it is pertinent that store staff are really focused on making the most out of every customer that enters the store.

Customer’s are constantly changing their demands, so shopping centre and store strategies need to constantly adapt and be flexible in order to successfully engage with today’s savvy consumer.

There are numerous ways employees can be more productive and customer focused. Queues and wait time seem to be a common issue that grates on consumers – taking a personal shopper approach is a great way to combat this and offers the opportunity to upsell products. Using iPads as transactional and stock management devices to make the consumers experience convenient and to reduce queues, will not only increase the average transaction sale but also, deliver an experience that customers will shout about. Queuing is a major drain on productivity – how many times have you looked at a queue and decided not to purchase? I know I have been too impatient to wait in the past, with the knowledge I can pick up a similar product in a store with a better structure. As soon as there is a wait or a hassle involved in a store experience, there is a risk consumers will go to another centre or another store that has developed their strategy to offer a seamless shopping process.

Even airports have begun to tackle the issue with queues. The Swiss company, SITA,have developed a robot that can check your bags in for you, even before you’ve entered the airport!

With the competition between retailers being so strong and with today’s consumer demanding efficient, smooth experiences – retailers need to step up their game and it can be seen in retailer’s latest strategies.

  • River Islands customer service manager, Sunil Bhudia, reported to Retail Week that they have implemented an entirely new way of working, introducing new IT systems, different shift patterns and extended customer service hours to meet consumer’s expectations.
  • M&S’s CEO, Steve Rowe, has announced his plan to hire more customer facing workers to drive up service levels.
  • Debenhams CEO, Sergio Bucher, has said a focus on improving the shopping experience through better personalisation and delivery options will be part of his new strategy.
  • The luxury brand, Rebecca Minkoff has merged online and physical shopping to enhance the customer experience. They have created digital mirrors within their fitting rooms where customers can request styles or sizes, change the lighting and purchase.

With so many retailers offering similar products and shopping centres offering similar tenants, it is the experience that makes the difference and keeps stores and schemes ahead of competitors. However, that is not to say tenant mix isn’t still critical – shopping centres are fighting for the latest leisure offering or advancement to entice customers to their scheme.

Consumers are being spoilt with service developments, and they are always looking for the next best thing. Retail market leaders are strategising to develop their facilities and ways to improve their offering or service – in this highly competitive market if you don’t keep enhancing your store or centre, you’re going to get left behind.

Kat Whitehead, Marketing & Operations, Foundation Recruitment

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