By Elaine Kleinschmidt
Over the past five years, the retail industry has been turbulent, to say the least. Many brands, both mature and novice alike, have been rocked by forces all around them—shifts in shopper behaviors, generational preferences, local nuance, economic
pressures, commercial real estate values, and the infusion of private equity inducing influx of expensive corporate retail debt—which has put many retailers into a tailspin, if not out of business.
Branded Manufacturers who have historically built their retail proposition through wholesale points of distribution are doubling down on Direct-to-Consumer retail while brands who have predominantly built their business around brick and mortar stores have found their sea legs with robust digital commerce capabilities. Even Digitally Native brands like Amazon, Warby Parker and Casper are expanding their strategy to include brick and mortar.
Ecommerce isn’t putting companies out of business, it’s simply changing the way customers connect to brands. The result? Brands who are winning today have focused investments on mapping brand experience strategies to both the needs of the customer and to the overall health of the brand. The recent white paper from WD Partners explores this topic further, sharing what brands have done and what brands can do to bring their stores into the 21st Century. It dives into the various factors effecting brands today, how the prototype approach to retail planning is a thing of the past and why brands should take a portfolio approach instead.
The prototype design fails to accommodate the new reality of retail, ruled by personalized experiences, local flavor and nuance, new options in order fulfillment and service offerings dictated by what customers need for on-demand access to the products of their choosing.
From product innovation to personalization to localization, there are many levers brands can and should pull on to create their brand experiences. As WD describes it, it’s a Retail Portfolio Strategy. A flexible set of modules to help brands create a strategically designed system of integrated parts and operations, to achieve synergy and scale, with both customers and their brand in mind.
After all, to the customer, retail is retail. The challenge for brands now is to see themselves from the customer’s point-of-view and meet their customer’s demands.