4 ways for retail to remain relevant
By Carin Smith - Jan 31st, 10:42
There are four key elements for retailers to remain relevant, according to Andrew Jennings, chair of the Prince's Trust Retail Leadership Group in London.
He was the first presenter in the 2019 Distinguished Speaker series of the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB).
In his book "Almost is not good enough – how to win and lose in retail" – of which all the proceeds go towards the Prince’s Trust charity – he sets out what these four elements are and why they matter.
Know your customer
Know your customer and understand their emerging wants, needs, desires and aspirations.
"Far too many retailers – including their buyers - don't really understand enough about their customer," said Jennings.
"Many businesses can course correct and many have done. It is about being relevant 24/7 as an omnichannel retailer."
Constantly innovate with excellence supported by technology.
"It is not just about doing things, but about doing it with purpose - for instance having events, happenings, store loyalty and outreach to the local community," explained Jennings.
Hire talented, passionate people
"It is essential if you want to be relevant today to hire talented and passionate people," said Jennings.
"Recruit the best, train them and develop them. Allow them to make mistakes if they need to make mistakes as that is how people learn."
Jennings emphasised that being good is not enough – you have to be great by having leaders who inspire, management who can "ruthlessly implement" strategies and frontline people who not only meet but exceed customers' expectations at every transaction point as well as online.
Change at the centre
"Embrace change at the centre of everything you are doing," concluded Jennings.
"You have to constantly course -correct in the retail industry of today. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are two very important factors for retail in the future."Fin 24
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