Retail is the new black

  • Opinion
  • March 26, 2015
  • Juanita Neville-Te Rito
Retail is the new black

Intuitively we know that at the heart of CX is emotional engagement that is delivered at every single shopper touchpoint. Emotional engagement creates “heart resonance” that goes beyond logic and is often born from a deep understanding of the shopper journey.

Journey mapping is nothing new but is an art/science that more retailers are appreciating the value of. As retailers no longer control the shopping process, they need to reshape their thinking of how collectively the business can deliver frictionless customer experiences that are relevant, engaging and desirable. This involves breaking down our internal silos.

CX needs to encapsulate all touchpoints with zero friction for the shopper. With only fools predicting the demise of bricks and mortar they have failed to recognise that as fundamental social beings who have a desire for new often and instant gratification,  means our store environments and salespeople are more important than ever.

I recently watched one of the most exciting videos by passionate analyst and L2 founder Scott Galloway. Through his analysis of Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Google it becomes crystal clear that those who will win in retail are those that embrace and transform the bricks and mortar experience.

Target Australia – new concept store Westfield Garden City, Mt Gravatt, Brisbane

My fabulous colleague Lisa Douglas, Retail Environment Director at Hotfoot,  and I recently had one of the most exciting shopping days in Brisbane. Believe it or not, the retail innovation we saw in Brisbane topped our prior trips to both Sydney and Melbourne.

We were  giddy with excitement when we visited the new concept Target store. Delirious almost. A discount department store has finally got their act together – and it is outstanding.

Let’s put this in context.

Target’s sales and profits have been in sharp decline since 2010. Once taking in annual sales of nearly $4 billion, in fiscal 2014 that had eroded to just $3.5 billion. Intense competition, a poor trading environment and hard choices made by executive management smashed profitability. From 2010 pre-tax profit at $381 million, it was sitting at $86 million - representing a staggering 77% slide in earnings over four years.

The Target experience hadn’t left the 80’s. Dirty carpet, dated livery and neglected shelves that looked like no one cared.

But move on into late 2014 and the new executive management had turned a golden leaf over.

Prices are down as much as 30% in some categories. Smart fixtures and layouts, better stores, smarter advertising and more desirable product on shelf herald movement in the right direction.

My personal favourite is clearing the pricing clutter, you know all that stuff we create in store to shout at the customer so she can figure out which deal is better or best. Gone. Target has implemented a clear three tier-model of “good, better, best” with an underlying “everyday low price.”

I understand that Target has put, “the contemporary family, with mum” at the heart of their brand, a move derived from the analysis of shopper traffic. The younger, married mums of a decade ago have shifted to mum marrying and having  kids later. She is shopping more and the dynamics have changed. The new Target store format acknowledges this.Good experience was delivered by the bucket load, as the pictures demonstrate, with product that is on trend, carries clear pricing and discounts, has engaging pops of interest, technology and information to enhance your choice and staff that you just want to hug because they are so damned real. 

You have to walk the store to experience the cohesiveness, the flow and the detail in thinking “what is her need in this category- how can we make this better?”

My fabulous aforementioned colleague Lisa Douglas is in the process of distilling the list of the things Target has got right (perhaps even compared to the new Kmart CX) and will be sharing a guest blog to provide insights you can easily digest to help refine your own CX.

It’s not an easy road ahead for Target. It’s a long road and other Target stores are a long way behind, but the commitment to change and seamlessly interconnect their delivery for the shopper seems to be there. They have made a clever start.

Remember a retail brand lives or dies with the store experience – hence why retail stores are the new black.

​ ​

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