Let me entertain you
September 25, 2020
September 25, 2020
Last week, during my presentation at the Retail Leaders Forum, I got a really interesting question. Someone asked that Should we stop referring to ourselves as retailers – and instead start thinking about ourselves as entertainers? They referenced the founder of Selfridges who, in 1909, changed shopping forever by bringing theatre into the experience, with live music, dancing and interactive displays.
Today, although live music may be off the agenda for a while, entertainment is a great way to think about the customer interactions we have with retail customers across all channels: both at home and in the physical environment.
Entertainment might sound a bit frivolous right now. However, consumers are ready to be entertained – and retail is the right industry to bring them that experience.
As the world was flipped upside down by COVID-19, retail became centre stage of our national response. As someone who has worked in and consulted to the industry for 21 years, I’m super proud of the way we have stepped up during the crisis.
When the COVID-19 hit, retailers moved at pace, wrapping a blanket of care and safety around frontline teams, shoppers and our most vulnerable in the community. Despite suffering incredible supply chain challenges, the industry has been relentless in the push forward, prioritising the need to ensure Australians have the essentials to be comfortable as they shelter at home.
In the last six months, retail has emerged as a voice of reason and a government influencer, building out trust with consumers. The question now is: What’s next?
I think ‘what’s next’ is building on the relationship value we’ve established; however, moving away from traditional retail business models to marketplace platforms and recurring engagement models. The next era of retail will see us shifting our focus from traffic, conversion and basket to revenue per consumer. Future KPIs will be about customer acquisition and churn, finding and keeping our most loyal and profitable brand advocates.
To do that, it's not enough anymore to look at the ‘old truths’: convenience, relevance and trust. Those ideals used to work, but they were largely based on instinct and gut feel. Today, we have a new set of tools to help us evolve those ideas: data and analytics.
So, how have these evolved?
To go back to the original question. Are we retailers now entertainers? You bet we are! But this is not entertainment based on gut feel. Consumers are increasingly willing to share their data in return for great experiences. And data is what will permit for us to sense and comprehend customer needs, so we can curate precise yet hugely entertaining experiences for our consumers – wherever they are.
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