Retail is a synonym of innovation, constant evolution, listening and learning. But as the philosopher said, what changes and what will change is the idea of what we are, and what I add, the eyes through from which we look. And the retail knows that it would just be able to get this answer watching through the consumer eyes and putting ourselves in their situation.
I am not referring to the misused (or abused) “client orientation”, neither to the construction of “the best consuming experience”, with which we fill strategic marketing plans to finally push the consumer to form their opinions and make their decision based on the price, proximity or based on someone who even does not know well and at the lack of better support he recommends an Internet forum. I am speaking about the need to learn “the” and “from” the point of view of the client, listen to their ideas, understand their feelings and respond suitably their needs with independence of the function of the product or channel
The retails future, or rather, the retail of the future it can only go through if it is able to put itself the shoes of the consumer and employers on, of the humanization related with both publics.
Even today many retailers suggest that the war is in the necessity and in searching the way of competing against the physical proximity and the ease of purchasing that promotes the online business, especially now, when technology allows any place to become a point of sale, a shop (a smartphone, tablet, metro stop,…) and where the important thing is, in this sense, a good management of all this points of contact with our brand and the creation of an experience of unique brand and integrated, a digital strategy coherent with the physical one.
But in a moment like the present, where we find millions of people in the social webs debating, discussing, marking, recommending, sharing, increases the importance of the existential relations and personal experiences, requires that should proportionate the brand. The consumer is a rational person who is constantly looking for accumulating first person experiences.
As Lipovetsky said, mas consumption is no longer a massive consumption. The human being needs to feed the feeling of being part of a group. We want to share our coffee in group but we want it to be served in the way we like. The important thing is what stage the brand creates in order to get a relation with myself, in order to push me building a relation with it and to give me the opportunity to relate with other consumptions attending my individuality.
Retailers should attend to this reality and many of them are already doing so. They are cutting down the number of commercial locals while they are enlarging the space of most of them, increasing the space of relation.
They are doing the store, not the extension of the brand, but the window display of the experience. They are creating spaces to stay and share, providing a reason for the visit further than the fact of just purchasing. Spaces where it can be discovered new utilities of the products supplied and where they give you the possibility of touching and feeling them. Places where the story of the brand is explained and recreated. Personalize products in function of their ubication and with many open channels. Retailers, that moreover, and specially, understand that one of the main distribution channels and ambassadors of the brand are their employees.
The retailers of the present and the future that don’t base the relation with the consumer as a long term agreement and with respect of the people that is in front of and behind the brand, that are not able to connect with the reality that the brand lives, lacking the ability and the humility of putting their shoes on (the ones of the clients and the employees) they would not survive.
The orientation to the client is not any more an added value because the orientation through the people and the brand empathy, especially in the retail sector, is not any more an option.
Sebastián Fernández de Lara