By Wong Mei Wai, Founder, CEO & Chief Change Catalyst, APAC Global Advisory
MARKETING MAGAZINE MAY 2019
Over the last few years, the retail market continues to change at a high speed due to the changing environment and evolving consumer needs of the new generation.
This has not only impacted fundamental retail strategy ( where the traditional approach of retail strategy will not continue to hold strong despite previous successes), it has led to significant restructuring and re-modelling of retail organisations, retail talents and how retail marketers have to approach the game.
No longer can they continue to market and promote in the same manner but must also become more strategic to cater to changes of consumers’ journey and a higher expectation on customer experience that starts before they reach the store and continues after they leave.
Brands that prefer to disrupt themselves instead of lying on their laurels waiting for the competition or industry to disrupt them leading to loss of market share. This includes the stronger emphasis of building consistent and powerful retail brands.
They are looking to create experiences that they own and that can travel, leveraging cutting-edge digitalization, creating seamless customer experience and also appointment of Change Leaders in the retail front.
The shifts and changes are all linked to the greater awareness for the need to build prominent brands and experiences that expand regionally or globally using innovation of experience ( beyond just Singapore). This is because the changing face of retail marketing makes a brand that remains only in one country a challenge to sustain for the next generation.
The retail changes have demanded us to review the number of our stores ( off-line) and on-line strategy that is seamless. Success is not about the size of the network of stores if there are duplications. Instead, it is about reviewing how the on-line experience can be seamlessly be brought to life in off-line and having a clear objective of whether it is brick & mortar stores, experience stores, pop-up stores and show rooms that will play the part in the branded retail business.
Placing a new concept or look of the store is a passé without true value-add that is being provided with an enhanced consumer experience journey.
For instance, one of the technology stores we are working on will be a first in the form of a media-cum- technology playground. The customer will be able to select at the entry of the store their passion and it allows the store to tailor-make the experience digitally to an environmentally conscious person or to a technology.
The global nature of the brand will be brought to life with live-streaming real time projection of New York, bringing in day and night lighting to that extends from the real world into the virtual world, live streaming what is happening in the manufacturing plant and concurrently show casing the research & development behind the innovative Brand’s products.
Based on the customer’s interest, they can transform a mirror into the product list and order without needing to carry or pay for any product in the store- everything will be delivered to their door-step with a swipe of their mobile phone.
To inspire the new generation, the young will be welcomed to integrate and experience the projections of innovation process like a technological wonderland, where they can have a hands-on experience to work on innovation.
Finally, we have been involved in searching and placing brand change leaders for companies that need to turn around or move the brands to aggressive growth.
Increasingly with digitalization and AI, companies know they need to find strong brand leaders as they cannot leave the future of retail in the hands of tactical and operational retail marketers in the changing face of retail marketing.