I recently read a special cover story in Chain Store Age that focuses on major thoughts and trends on retail, some of which we already know:
1. Store experience rules
2. Customers want shopping experiences customized to them
3. Stick to what you know; don’t try to be everything to everyone, etc.
However, it’s an interesting read with the entire story broken into a set of one or two page short stories that make for easy reading.
While you won’t walk away with any great revelations (or maybe you will), it’s good food for thought and echoes the posts I’ve been writing – you’ll see many of the same themes.
One of the interesting takeaways is a small sidebar titled “Who’s shopping now?” which details five types of shoppers as follows:
Karma Chameleon – a shopper that reinvents themselves as they go through life – from parent to myspace denizen to soccer mom to weekend warrior.
Healthy Things – this trend is huge and will continue. Shoppers are buying food that is healthier and products that help them get in shape and feel good. It’s about a healthy mind, body and soul.
All About Me – when hasn’t it been all about me? But we as people are looking for individuality and things that make us feel special. We’re also buying things that people will notice and make us who we are (maybe clothes do make the man?).
So Emotional – retailers that tell a great story and hook into an emotion will be big winners. Pets, beauty, travel, cooking and home can all have great emotional hooks.
Conspicuous Virtue – we’re in the middle of this right now – people are making a conscious decision to shop at places that impact social change.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
There will always be trends. So take note and take part when you can and as appropriate to your business. That’s the key – when appropriate.
This isn’t the flavor of the month club where you change on an ongoing basis. Businesses that change the core of their business to capitalize on the trend are never successful in the long-run. That’s changing your brand to fit the needs of your customer. And that’s a no-no.
Your brand is your brand and it must be flexible. It’s the one constant in an ever-changing world. People buy Tide because it gets clothes really clean. And that hasn’t changed. However, Tide may now be more environmentally friendly than ever before while still getting clothes really clean. And that’s how a brand can flex without changing the essence of what the brand is.
So, take note of the trends and allow your brand to flex a little to capitalize on them without changing the core essence of who you are and what your store stands for.