Monday, February 13, 2012

Future-proofing your business

We've been talking about "future-proofing" a bit lately at Shoes of Prey and there are some important considerations that are impacting the way that we think we'll remain innovative and competitive in the fast-changing retail environment.

Multi-channel retailing
While we're strongly embracing the idea of personalising the products you buy and the online shopping experience, the next level of this is to be available for convenient interaction and purchase wherever our customers happen to be. For us it's the reverse of most retailers as we look at what offline opportunities we should pursue to ensure that our customers have the experience that they desire with Shoes of Prey.

However, it's not as black and white as online vs offline. It's also about finding the overlap into discreet retail environments in which it's value-adding for brands to be - the "first frontier" of which is social spaces.

More intuitive online offering
Technology and talent is now at a point where it is very likely that if you can imagine a better way of doing something, we either can or are close to being able to build it. This means that there is an enormous opportunity for retailers to revolutionise the way that their industry has been operating. Is it enough to have a gallery of products to select from? How else can you communicate what the product is like in real life?

Better collection and use of data
In some ways it's about more intuitively observing our own habits, things we love about what brands do, things we wish brands did and realising what made for a pleasant experience and taking those lessons back into our own companies. However, observing your own responses is tough to separate from actually having the experience itself and for the same reasons your customers won't be able to articulate that insightful silver bullet - which is why smart data collection is so important.

Take your hypothesis about what's working and what is not and see what story the data tells. Particularly online there are so many opportunities to collect and use data well. Deep-dive into Google Analytics to see what you can find out about how people are behaving. Do user interface testing to see what's intuitive and what could be changed to message more naturally and simply to your audience. Survey your customers, using questions that aren't too literal and direct and always keep focused on what it is you are trying to understand about your target audience. Also leave room for them to make suggestions - you may find the same suggestion comes up over and over - something obvious to a consumer but not to the business itself.

The future of retailing is incredibly exciting and we're really only at the beginning of understanding what this can be in the new channels and technology available to us. Consumers expectations are shifting rapidly and the opportunities this creates are enormous - if we can only find a way to identify them and be willing and agile enough to evolve with them.

No comments:

Post a Comment