What retailers need to focus on into 2012

I was asked to reflect on some of the key trends that have influenced consumers and retailers alike throughout 2011. I came up with the following, so I thought I’d share this with you. Let me know if you agree, disagree, or have anything to add!

Access to the internet on the move has caused a step-change in retailer – consumer engagement

The major changes in consumer habits this year have been underpinned by the increased uptake of smartphones and access to the internet on the move. Stats in the UK show that over 60% of consumers research online before they transact in store, what’s interesting is that this online research can now take place within the store where the subsequent transaction takes place (or not) as a result of such things as:

  • Checking prices / promotions / offers / vouchers
  • Checking online review content relating to the item

There is a continuing trend to purchases being influenced by the consumer’s own social network as the peer-peer review and recommendation becomes a greater factor in brand loyalty than the brand’s own outbound marketing messages.

Bricks and Mortar retailing IS of critical importance to the multi-channel mix!

The reality of the multi-channel shopping experience has also arrived. Reports elude to sales from bricks and mortar having “dropped off”. The internet / mobile web are accused of damaging the high street due to continued growth and “dominance”. This isn’t entirely accurate…. research has proven that those customers who can engage with multiple channels during their purchasing decision making process are worth 130% of the value of a single channel customer. This statistic seems borne out by the fact that over 10% of UK online sales are now completed for instore collection. Don’t say bricks and mortar don’t count – high street and instore based retail absolutely has a role to play!

What should retailers focus on in 2012?

So into 2012 it’s clear that retailers need to focus on the following key messages:

  • Compete on service, not on price – avoid becoming commoditised
  • Engage your loyal customers and building true brand advocates to recommend and refer your brand to their social network
  • Ensure your operation is truly an integrated multi-channel experience and NOT a series of multiple, disconnected channels
  • Leverage the increased uptake of technology, specifically smartphones, to ensure your customer gets an engaging, interactive and immediate experience.

I wish you every success in 2012!


About Clare Bailey

Clare Bailey, The Retail Champion (formerly Clare Rayner), is one of the most well-known and respected retail experts in the UK. With unrivalled knowledge in retail, high streets and consumer matters, she offers unbiased, independent content – whether engaged as a professional speaker, for broadcast media, or for a written feature. Clare is a business woman, entrepreneur and founder of several small businesses. Having been born into a family of successful business owners, it was inevitable that she’d eventually jump off the corporate treadmill and step out on her own! Today her brand portfolio includes The Retail Champion, The Retail Conference, the Future High Street Summit and the Support for Independent Retail campaign. In addition, she is co-founder of Mobaro Retail UK and a non-exec director of Beed Virtual Assistant Services. Having started her career as a fast-track store management trainee for McDonalds, she went on to work with leading retailers such as M&S, Dixons and Argos. She moved swiftly into management roles before being headhunted into senior consulting roles with global software giant SAP, and international management consulting brand, Accenture. Her corporate background in senior retail, consulting and technology roles, coupled with her experience of creating and running her own business, has enabled her to be equally capable whether consulting to global brands or micro businesses. This unique blend has not only positioned her as a leading expert in all things retail, but has enabled her to add meaningful commentary and insight to the debate around the future of the high street, and, how technology is driving fundamental change in the way consumers, and businesses, interact. Clare has become an influential voice in her field, which has resulted in her becoming a regular media contributor and sought-after conference speaker. Often seen on Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, Sky News, and Chanel 5 (to name a few), Clare speaks on a myriad of retail, high street and consumer issues – but is particular adept when it comes to explaining the context behind retail trading results, newly released data, and government stats, in a palatable and informative manner. In addition to broadcast and conference speaking, Clare is the proud author of two best-selling business books published by Kogan Page - The Retail Champion: 10 Steps to Retail Success, published July 2012 and How to Sell to Retail: The Secrets of Getting Your Product to Market, published February 2013. She has provided contributions to various academic texts, including Retail Marketing Management (published by Pearson). With an engaging, conversational yet informative style, Clare writes for press and content agencies, providing features, articles, blogs and opinion pieces as well as contributions to white papers and reports. However, when the situation demands a more serious style, Clare can deliver - In 2016 she wrote an extensive report for a major insurance and risk law firm, as a retail expert witness, to support a public liability suit. She found that project particularly enjoyable as it played well to her strengths – assimilating large amounts of data and information, identifying the key points and articulating that in an understandable manner. When not on TV or speaking at conferences, Clare’s “day job” sees her supporting consumer-facing businesses through her consultancy services. When asked to describe what she most loves about retail consulting it is typically the opportunity to “dig deep”, getting “under the bonnet”, in order to leverage the business data to uncover the insights that lead to “lightbulb moments”. She also loves working on business change programmes that centre on improving the processes and systems to increase profitability by supporting more rapid, better informed decision making, improving the customer experience, or simply by become more efficient and streamlined. In this respect she considers herself a “business engineer” with a brain that works like a relational database! Due to her years of experience, her logical, objective approach, her quick, rational thinking, she is known for being able to cut through complexity, seeing right through to the crux of issues, finding creative solutions that others may have overlooked. As if all that wasn’t enough, Clare is a working mum, juggling a home life in rural Lincolnshire with her partner, their 5 kids, 4 cats, and geriatric Labrador! For all enquiries, contact Clare directly on 01727 238890 or email champion@retailchampion.co.uk.
This entry was posted in Consumer Trends, customer engagement, multi-channel, Service, The Retail Champion. Bookmark the permalink.

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