Contrary to many people’s perceptions, retail is not only about the process of selling branded consumer goods to customers, but also selling branded services.
When taking on a new project in both consumer goods or services, one must keep in mind that retail strategy is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle together with the creation of the concept. In the majority of projects we are involved, we always highlight the importance to execute a full commercial plan that covers a variety of strategic level decisions, such as the types of goods or services, product naming, store interiors, perception building for the market to be served, the optimal product assortment, customer service, communication tactic and the store’s overall market positioning.
Retailers must start by formulating the retail mix for the strategy, which includes the prime 6P model: product, price, place, promotion, personnel and presentation. Setting these individual elements correctly is crucial for the market positioning of a brand in the retail world: the type of product being sold, it’s visual impact, price positioning, display and sales environment – be it available for online purchase or only offline – the way it is promoted, through which channels and so on. The importance of the 6P model has also become increasingly relevant for online retail, as a large number of businesses are looking to reach wider markets by selling through multiple digital channels. The vibrant, online retail experience, must complement the brick and mortar business, developing strong and inspiring customer-journeys to convert visitor traffic into sales.
The digital world is also pervasive in the way that we pay for goods and services which is constantly evolving. Retailers must be ready to adopt and embrace various new technologies in order to facilitate payments, enabling customers to purchase with ease and offering more flexible solutions. For example, Revolut, a customer-centric debit card payment system makes transactions smoother universally. Other payment portals such as Sumup, have become the smart choice for mobile payments. Keeping up with new technologies is not an option.
Product and service packaging with the choice of goods and services offered, must fit like a glove into the brand story, with their identity and values always standing strong to the retail promise. These elements should be clearly communicated to consumers so that they can easily identify with the offering that is available to them at the respective outlet or online shopping platform.
Understanding and further developing the brand character and product range in relation to its specific target audience is as important as the ‘naming’ of these items. These, together with visual positioning and memory-recall of specific brand attributes such as iconography, typography or logo elements and colours are also part of the primary retail nodes which people relate to and keep remembering, as ‘top-of-mind’.
Brand stand-out and differentiation may be achieved through creative and innovative retail design. Strategy for single or multi-outlet branded spaces must be consumer-centric, for any retail business, be it home furnishings, banking, perfumery, telco, confectionery, hospitality, automotive etc. Over the years we have studied and executed various retail concepts with a special focus on the customer journey, sales touch-points and memorable interactions in store that will grow to become top-of-mind whilst strengthening the overall marketing and promotional efforts. Various brands from all over the globe are currently experimenting with different instore journeys with the goal of creating a shareable effect through digital channels, such as Instagram, where marketing efforts are being amplified by customers, creating a new earned media phenomenon.
Only after all the items on the retail strategy checklist are ticked off is the concept ready to go to market. Facing a buoyant hyper-economy, it is essential that the brand and its offering are ready to face both the constantly-agile competition as well as a more educated and demanding consumer pool.