Last year, we featured opinions and retail advice from retail experts who have everything nailed down, from online retail to offline and multichannel. This year, we’re continuing the tradition with snippets and words of wisdom from the people who have been around for longer than the word ‘online retail’. What advice would they give to retailers looking to make the cut this year?
1. Chris Petersen, IMS Inc.
What do you get if you distil 25 years in the retail industry, and counting, fortune 500 experience, and business analytics together? Results, of course! And that is what Mr. Petersen at IMS delivers.
Our favorite quote: “First off, struggling retailers are struggling for multiple reasons. Before jumping to pure-play online, brick-and-mortar retailers need to honestly assess what is wrong with their business. Rarely is physical location the only problem.”
Indeed, the first step to success in retail is to do well in your channel of choice and then scale up to include new channels and avenues. Chris also blogs weekly at his Results Count blog that we’ve been following for over a year now, and we highly recommend that you do too.
Best Article Of 2016: Just how much product assortment can you both manage and offer at any point. Read ‘Online assortments – Long tail, curation or castration?‘ to find out.
2. Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor
Sometimes, all our ailing businesses need is a prescription from a doctor, and Bob Phibbs delivers! If your customer service reps are having trouble servicing, or if your team just doesn’t seem to own your retail business, fix those internal problems with his help.
Our favorite quote: “So many retailers miss it – no matter the product these days. It can’t be all about you. It has to be all about the customer. It isn’t about your new chatbot, robot, or shopbot. It’s not about your innovative new BOPIS strategy or your social media likes.”
In the race for world, and social media, domination, we have collectively become a generation obsessed with ourselves, a fatal attribute to have in sales. Are you talking too much about yourself, or do you spend time listening to customers and what they want?
Best Article Of 2016: Has your customer interface left them wondering if you’re employing chatbots? There is nothing inherently wrong about bots or humans, as long as they do their job well across channels. Read How To Keep Omnichannel Retail Customers Happy And Make Their Online Experience More Human for more.
3. Nancy Georges, Magnolia Retail Marketing Solutions
Whether you are a budding retailer or an established behemoth, there is no denying how much flux there is in the retail world. This is why you need to extend an ear to someone who has been in marketing for so long, they know how to handle both physical stores and online retail, and have aced social media marketing. Enter Nancy Georges.
Our favorite quote: “They (millennials) use technology to access information on products and reviews as part of their retail experience. Convenience and costs are important factors for them and will impact their final purchase decision. They ‘live’ online so it shouldn’t be a surprise that they shop and buy online too.”
If you’re struggling to understand why today’s generation abandons shopping carts ever so often, it is because this is the era of the informed customer. Millennial buyers are extremely sensitive to cost vs. value, and will not buy from you if they find your product cannot compete on either aspect.
Best Article Of 2016: From strategies and mistakes to transition in this day and age, read Nancy Georges’ AMA here.
4. Sucharita Mulpuru, Shoptalk
If you want to know how to gain customers across channels and keep them too, turn to none other than Sucharita Mulpuru. Shoptalk’s Retail Strategist knows precisely what works in the world of detail, and can slice and dice through marketing strategies to tell you why they work.
Our favorite quote: “The fundamental challenge with retail is that it’s being disrupted by pure plays and Amazon and traditional retailers have to completely rethink their businesses. Investing in technology is definitely a good place to start, although in some cases it may not be enough.”
Amazon has taken and is quickly devouring a large chunk of the retail pie, so what strategy should you adopt in order to keep selling anyway? We say, if you cannot beat competition, get on board.
Best Article Of 2016: Holiday sales aren’t going anywhere anytime soon and seeing as how E-Commerce Continues To Be The Bright Spot For Holiday Sales, you’d do well to start planning for July 4th Already.
5. Doug Stephens, Retail Prophet
Indeed, given everything that is going on in the world of buying and selling, a prophet may be just who we need- an absolute authority on the subject. Do they exist? Doug Stephens is proof they do, with clients like Citibank, Target, and Intel turning to him for advice.
Our favorite quote: “Short-termism plagues the retail industry, and the global recession has only served to reinforce that tendency. You might think the financial crisis would have prompted retailers to expand their horizons, but in many respects they have hunkered down even further and lived from quarter to quarter, from fiscal year to fiscal year.”
Are you, cash-strapped and lost, resorting to condensing your business when you should be expanding? Ideally, selling on other channels can give you just the break you need to keep your business running.
Best Article Of 2016: If there was to be just one thing that set you apart from everyone else, what would that be? Creativity: The Final Competitive Advantage tells you.
6. Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender, Retail Consultants
Called two of the retail industry’s most influential people, this power combination is a mine of information on consumer research, as their retail blog reflects. Sound marketing advice, practical tips, and good humor is probably what made PR Newswire rank their blog #1 in retail advice.
Our favorite quote: “You may have heard that email marketing is dead. It’s not. Email is still at the top of every marketer’s list for reaching customers quickly, effectively and inexpensively; that’s why big retail services companies send an email blast each day.”
Best Article Of 2016: Do you have the gender bias when it comes to your product listings and sales channels? He Shops, She Shops… Differently is proof that maybe that bias isn’t so bad after all.
7. Julia Glotz
If FMCGs and perishables are your pain point and also the focus of your business, The Grocer’s managing editor is who you should follow.
Our favorite quote: “Taking the plunge into entrepreneurship can be daunting, especially in a sector as competitive and fast-moving as food & drink. A proper support system is vital. And, encouragingly, there are now a growing number of organisations – big and small – that are making it their business to provide just that.”
Food retail is one of the most daunting domains to be in. Food is inherently perishable and of value only until it is fresh. Having support from within the community can help keep you sane.
Best Article Of 2016: Don’t brush off the guys who ask too many questions. Alert buyers who ask smart questions are brands’ greatest allies.
8. Aurelia Ammour, iVentures Consulting
The God of high fashion retail is Aurelia Ammour. The who’s who of fashion and luxury retail turn to her for digital transformation and innovation solutions.
Our favorite quote: “Opportunities for differentiation exist all along the customer journey. They can come in the form of improvements in existing actions (quick win) and/ or implementation of new features and services.”
Best Article Of 2016: Chief Digital Officer: Ninja of the (digital) transformation. If you haven’t invested in digital media yet, this article will convince you to do it right now.
9. Neil Saunders, GlobalData Retail
Data is everywhere, and you know it too. Every sale you make, every payment you process gives you crucial information about the customer. Neil Saunders uses information and analysis to come up with retail strategies that stand on solid ground.
Our favorite quote: ” This mantra of ‘shifting shopping habits’ has now become a catch-all excuse for poor performance. For some, it has also resulted in fatalistic thinking: viewing the rise of online as an unstoppable, destructive tide that can neither be tamed nor harnessed for good.”
Far too many retailers are making the rise of online retail a curtain to hide poor performance behind. The real reasons for poor sales are rooted elsewhere- product preference and store environment.
Best Article Of 2016: Why would an analyst at heart say Never trust the numbers! Because numbers in themselves don’t mean anything. It is the thought you back them up with that does.
Which retail experts do you follow for your dose of inspiration? Share with us!