The best retailers are those that can adapt – that may include looking at rentals or creating a smart home experience in-store to appeal to a new generation of buyers, advises Gekko managing director Daniel Todaro
Having sat on the ERT Awards judging panel, selecting retailers who are the best in their chosen specialism has highlighted some high-flyers, but we all know that there are some real dinosaurs out there that need to change in order to survive.
Retail is one of the most dynamic of industries. At its best, it quietly adapts to the needs of shoppers to increase dwell time, convenience and average basket value. Multiple retailers follow this religiously to increase sales and margins – an approach independents should learn from.
With home ownership increasingly more difficult to achieve, ‘generation rent’ is becoming a significant demographic. This model may not appeal to all retailers, but as a generational change, for many it’s unthinkable to buy outright, repair or move MDAs and CE items. Offering some form of rental package is another consumer-driven solution that allows a retailer to drive sales.
With the growth of various new categories, retailers have numerous opportunities – and the greatest of all is the smart home. This will influence all product areas over the next five years.
At the end of 2016, there were 8.5 million smart homes in Europe and the market is forecast to grow by 57 per cent a year to reach 80.6m by 2021. This equates to 36 per cent of all European households owning a smart-home product.
Although shoppers are beginning to see the benefits, it’s clear that they aren’t simply looking for a like-for-like replacement. The key is to display products in a connected manner as a consumer would do in their own home.
In emerging categories, such as smart speakers, the global market is expected to grow annually by 43.7 per cent up to 2022. Sales of 4K UHD TVs are set to grow by 38 per cent in 2017 and will account for more than a third of the worldwide TV market.
And with a quarter of consumers citing a ‘lack of knowledge’ as a reason for not purchasing a smart-home product, and a further 21 per cent worried about security, independents have an opportunity to showcase the technology and alleviate these concerns. If shoppers can see how these products will work in their home, it is much more likely to lead to a sale.
It’s up to retailers to create this environment. Make sure your store’s wi-fi will support multiple devices. Set up some wireless speakers so that shoppers can play songs via Bluetooth using their app. Most importantly, ensure that your staff are trained on each product.
Brands can only help so far in supporting you with training and point-of-sale to create in-store theatre – the rest is up to you.
Taking an omni-channel approach will also mean that although a customer may not leave with their desired purchase that day, they could order and collect next day, or have it installed – for a fee.
Manufacturers can help with creating experience zones in-store. While you are tied into that brand, it offers an opportunity to change perceptions and speak to a new audience.
The most successful retailers adapt to the needs of consumers, which are driven by trends. Don’t rely on brands and take control of your own destiny.
Dos and don’ts to increase sales
Take control of your destiny and give customers the best experience in-store so that they buy not just once, but again and again.
Here are my top 10 dos and don’ts…
DO use your window displays to attract customers.
DON’T leave your displays bland, old or irrelevant to what you sell.
DO echo a high-profile advertising campaign outdoor poster site near your store.
DON’T leave old p-o-s or product out for too long.
DO ensure your customer is greeted.
DON’T leave your customer to browse with no contact being made.
DO merchandise the store so it is uncluttered.
DON’T mix up categories even if space is limited. Microwaves don’t belong with laundry.
DO make ticketing accurate and visible.
DON’T make the customer ask you the price or feel you are pressurising them to talk to you.
DO ask your customer questions to make relevant recommendations.
DON’T bulldoze your customer because you know best.
DO listen to your customer to meet their needs and budget.
DON’T sell them something they don’t need. Buyer’s remorse will increase returns and lose you a customer for life.
DO sell a backup item or offer an order service if it’s out of stock.
DON’T lose the sale to a competitor because you don’t have the product.
DO make a distress purchase a pleasure.
DON’T make it harder than it needs to be.
DO offer an after-sales service and make them remember you for positive reasons.
DON’T treat the customer with contempt – today’s small purchase could be tomorrow’s bigger one.