NW Insider Future of Retail #NWRetail
Speed, service and intelligent use of data
Entertainingly hosted as always by Chris Maguire, the event saw two panels, sandwiching a quick Q&A with reluctant but very able brand director, Zoe Brimelow, from Duo packing, share thoughts on the future of retail.
Sponsors 3PL and Weightmans formed panel one along with Purple and Intilery.
Panel two lined up with Approved Food, The Contact Company, UK fast and Ellis Brigham.
All brought expert insight and analysis from their end of the retail telescope and added useful titbits and thought formers for the audience, who gamely shivered though the cold conditions to stay on topic and engaged.
Rather than a full blown analysis (read the next issue of Insider for that), here’s a (hopefully) useful and bite sized chunk of useable information from the event:
3 key take outs:
1.Using technology to better understand your customer wants, needs and desires is the key to the future. Pilot schemes from the likes of Halfords to track customer movement in store, based on mobile devices connecting to wifi, gives clarity on where they’re lingering in store and offers the chance to serve them useful data in realtime e.g. videos to help customers choose between child car seats if they’ve lingered on that aisle for say 10 minutes
2. Unless you’re happy to be in a price war, focus on service, service, service, it’s the greatest differentiator of them all and creates a long term legacy that price points never can.
3. Speed is paramount at all levels of your customer journey from website load times to time spent queuing at the till, or delivery to your hands. Chop, chop for success.
Random facts learned:
Weightmans – likes to herd cats and ‘gets off’ reading retail reports in bed (happy Valentines Day to your wife!)
Ian Walker from 3PL – a passionate Wigan fan and keen advocate of the outsourcing model to give your business genuine flexibility and headroom for growth
Gareth from Intilery – like me about to become a dad of four – you’ll survive, I promise!
Asif from the Contact Company – pledged to keep all staff on UK shores, forever (hooray, I hear his customers cheer)
Approved Food – the 3rd fastest UK retail website in the UK & CEO Dan ate a 30 year old Double Decker bar he bought on ebay and lived to tell the tale. (all was good bar the raisins had turned to grit, unfortunately I couldn’t find the YouTube video to share with you).
So all in all, the retail sector remains full of serious challenges but those that are seeking to innovate and embrace technology in order to better understand and service their customers will thrive. Those that don’t can expect to become dinosaurs, fast.