Moving Forward in Retail: Your Past Successes Don’t Mean Shit!

You’re only as good as your last success.

You’ve likely heard this saying before, but it never gets old; especially as it applies to business in 2016 and beyond. The entire ecosystem changes so often that what worked yesterday might not work tomorrow. So what if you want to move forward in retail?

Put even more simply: what got you here won’t always get you there.

Your past successes don’t mean shit, if you’re moving forward in retail.

It’s only what you do today and every day going forward that matters. Get out of the habit of repackaging what you did last year or last month and expecting improved results. This “rinse and repeat” tactic that other merchants do doesn’t work anymore. I see the data and it isn’t pretty.

Stop Boring Your Customers

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Your customers are inundated with boring, repetitive garbage. You won’t stand out to your customers if you just keep adding your stuff to that pile of junk. Customers only notice one of two things: the lowest price, or inspiration.

If you aren’t the lowest price provider of your product, then your only option to compete is to be the merchant that inspires. Tell stories that matter. Provide a service that’s memorable and shareable. Deliver a “wow!” experience. Do something for the customer beyond the simple exchange of cash for goods.

The Past can become your goalposts to Move Forward in Retail

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It’s not that the past can’t teach you things. Quite the opposite in fact. I’m suggesting that you use the lessons of the past as guideposts for future ideas.

When you sit with your marketing team to plan out the next month or next quarter’s activities, try mixing in more new ideas instead of falling back to the age-old “what did we do last year?” plan. Take some of those campaigns from last year and really ask yourself what part of them worked before you simply carbon copy them.

If you have dominated with one particular marketing channel (and let’s face it, most merchants do have one major channel) then maybe you should focus on what new channels can carry your business forward. (God knows the number of channels isn’t exactly shrinking.)

Or, if you want to stay dominant in that same marketing channel, try something new to keep customers interested and engaged. It doesn’t have to be so ground-breakingly new that nobody’s ever tried it before–just something that your audience hasn’t yet seen.

Change is coming, is your retail business moving forward?

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The three major forces changing our industries foundations are:

  • the democratization of technology
  • the multiplying of channels
  • the cannibalization of the food chain.

Part of your job As an eCommerce leader in your company, part of your job is helping to create the map that takes you into the future. The rate of change is telling us that what worked before is going to stop working very quickly–if it hasn’t already. We need to constantly explore new ideas to stay relevant and better connect with our customers.

 

Get lean, act nimble.