As the CEO of the country’s body for retailers, Greg Harford knows the ins and outs of the industry, especially in New Zealand.
As we move towards a post-pandemic phase Harford offers his advice to retailers about how to navigate this transition and set themselves up well for the future.
What are some things retailers need to know coming out of Covid-19?
One of the main things retailers need to be aware of is the changing customer behaviours and the shift to online. Online is a growing part of the market for a long time, but the volume has increased substantially over the years, potentially doubled.
Retailers will need to be operating in a digital-first manner or harness the tools of going digital.
Read more: The Sleep Store – a lesson in retail success.
You will need to identify customer demands to reflect your fulfilment demand because fulfilment is critical to online sales.
An excellent upfront experience is also key if you want to avoid abandoned shopping carts.
What about some tips for retailers with brick-and-mortar stores?
A key tip is to think about where your customers are and set you store there. You want to have a store that is both well designed and well laid out.
You want to do a really good design for your store to avoid the risk of shoplifting and violent activity.
Why should retailers hop on the social media bandwagon?
We live in a digital age where social media is a key means to engaging with your customers, with many of your customers already on social media channels.
If you are going to be successful, you will need to be customer centric and not lose sight that not all your customers are on all these channels.
Is there anything retailers should avoid?
Retailers need to avoid being product-led. In 2022, it is important you want to be customer-led, which is why it is so important to start getting into social media.
Avoid investing in products without doing your research. Make sure you are fully informed about what your products are and who your market is.
Is the retail outlook for the rest of 2022 looking good?
To be a retailer in 2022 is really challenging, you need to be everywhere your customers are and there is probably never a good time to start a business. Supply chains are stretched, and consumers are increasingly stretched.
But we came out of a two-year period where people were feeling grim, so if you have got a really great product, it will lighten the mood.
The main thing is focus on mental wellbeing – for yourself and your teams. It has been an extremely tough time and people are feeling pretty down and stressed, so take a deep breath and always feel free to take a step back.
Retail NZ is always here, so if you need anything, any support, please feel free to reach out.
There are also free resources on RetailNZ for retailers to access to support them and their business.