Courage and savvy the hottest retail trends

juliet_warkentin_w120Downturns, slumps, recessions and adjustments force us to think in new ways and re-evaluate the old. Now’s time to be brave and smart in retail, says WGSN content director Juliet Warkentin.

Juliet Warkentin

A seasoned communications strategist, marketer and editor, Juliet joined WGSN in 2007. Her expertise covers change programmes, brand regeneration and client relationship management. Juliet’s ‘Brave and Smart’ presentation was a highlight of the 2009 L’Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival Business Seminar.

Service is more important than ever 
Customer service doesn’t even start at the shop door anymore, which makes good service even trickier to achieve. Word of mouth, Facebook groups and price comparison shopping sites are all doing your customer service for you, meaning you need to stay on the ball in terms of service across all formats

Brand DNA rules
Now more than ever, customers are thinking hard about who they want to spend their money with. If they don’t understand what a brand stands for, they won’t care enough to give it a chance.

Young woman trying on high heel shoesBrand Trust
Without trust and authority no brand can survive. Nurturing these entails a credible retail experience, good service and consistent product.

Throw out the rule book
Everything we thought we knew about the way the world works is changing right now. So throwing out the rule book doesn’t seem so crazy anymore. Be innovative, utilise new communications tools to get the word out there and be brave with your product offer.

Find the value sweet spot
There is no question that value is what consumers want right now, at every level of the market. The point here is that the value sweet spot is not just about price anymore. It used to be that Value = Quality + Price in the mind of the consumer. Today there’s an extra factor: Want. Desirability is the new X-factor.

More than ever creativity means business
When times get tough, tension inevitably occurs between design studios pushing ‘new’ ideas and buyers worried they don’t have a ‘winner’ on their hands. Now is the time to be brave and push the boundaries. Chances are that having something different to offer will stand you in good stead.

Maintain leadership
None of these ideas can be implemented without strong, visionary leadership. Communicate with both head office and store staff on a regular basis and make sure your message is consistent. Celebrate good results with awards that promote teamwork while also recognising individuals who excel.


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