As the door closes on a watershed year for retail, there’s hope for a less turbulent year ahead. But the reality is the landscape of 2020 has delivered changes that are set to remain long beyond the year of Covid-19.
So as retailers enjoy the final days of the Christmas shopping frenzy and look to the new year ahead, here are four retail resolutions to guide them into 2021.
Protect the bottom line
Protecting the bottom line has been paramount in 2020, and this will continue into the coming year. Although the economic uncertainty of the past year seems to have been allayed and consumer sentiment is on the rise, stability in the year ahead is far from guaranteed.
For retailers that means they need to protect the bottom line with a clear understanding of their numbers, and solid policies and future plans.
Meanwhile, each year retailers lose around one per cent of their profits to shrink and theft, with the most recent Australia and New Zealand Crime Survey estimating $3.37 billion in retail revenue simply walks out the door due to shoplifting, employee theft, human error and miscellaneous loss.
Now is the time for retailers to plug the leak of loss, taking a good hard look at their loss prevention strategies and how to improve them.
Keep it convenient
Customer convenience has been key to the retail sector surviving and, in some instances thriving, in 2020. After all, this was the year that saw click and collect and online retail enjoy a major upswing in adoption.
The year ahead will see the demand for convenience continue, with the customer expecting to effortlessly navigate between the real-world and online retail environments.
Managing the demands of click and collect involves ensuring accurate inventory at all times. While retailers should be providing a seamless experience in-store that matches the ease of online ordering utilising tools like mobile Point of Sale.
Communication remains key
Communication has been critical throughout 2020 in a year when the Covid landscape kept changing and demand for products like toilet paper hit an all-time high.
Grocery retailer Woolworths was among the brands successfully stepping it up in the communication stakes and they managed this across multiple channels including in-store, online and via their Everyday Rewards program.
This was also a year when retailers were judged by their social values, how well they communicated them and then how effectively they matched their brand promise.
Revealing their 20 Coolest Retailers recently, Inside Retail highlighted this trend with Country Road as an example.
“We realised pretty quickly that what people wanted and what we felt aligned to was supporting the local communities,” Country Road’s managing director, Elle Roseby, told Inside Retail.
Among the initiatives, Country Road began sourcing more wool and cotton from Australian farmers, supported Indigenous arts, and shot its spring campaign in a Blue Mountains community that was impacted by the bushfires.
This communication and understanding of the customer expectation will continue in 2021, with many brands having now discovered the communication baseline that they need to meet.
The human factor continues to be real-world retail’s greatest asset with staff at the frontline of the retail experience.
These valued members of the retail team need to be empowered to do their job efficiently and effectively with tools that allow them to tap into the knowledge and offer superior customer service.
Together, these enable staff to better cater to their customer at a time when it’s never been more important to go above and beyond the customer expectation.
You can find out more about how the retail landscape is changing, and how we can assist here