Lessons Retailers Can Learn From Other Sectors – Retail Technology Innovation Hub

Retail is one of the sectors most disrupted by new technologies and changing consumer trends.

Even before the Internet boom, small independent businesses were outnumbered by large chain stores that could offer lower prices and a greater selection of products.

Retailers big and small have suffered, a quick glance at the headlines of the last few months would show you that brands like GameStop in the US and Debenhams in the UK have struggled.

However, retail companies can learn lessons from other industries and, by applying them, they could help turn the tide.

Become a fountain of knowledge (again)

For centuries, people have relied on the expertise of their local specialty traders. In the past, if you wanted to know which drill to use on a certain type of wood, your hardware store trader would know.

If you needed to learn the best way to cook steak, you would ask the butcher. Whereas if you were looking for advice on new books to read, you would consult with a bookstore owner.

With the internet taking over and large retailers over competing independent local operations, much of that personal service has been lost.

This does not need to be the case, as it is in fact possible to offer the convenience and advantageous prices that come with e-commerce and economies of scale while providing customers with the expert advice and information they need.

Outside of the retail market, we can see this happening all the time. In iGaming, companies often offer guides on how to play poker and other games, helping new players to familiarize themselves with the rules and operation of their software.

The same can be seen in the digital marketing industry, with companies like Google organizes its own training courses to help professionals get the most from their services.

Some retailers have spotted this opportunity before, with brands like B&Q offering helpful video guides for people looking to do DIY tasks like changing a washer in a faucet at home.

These guides bring that expertise back to clients with the convenience of being able to access it anytime.

Focus on experiences

In the past, “retail therapy” was a popular way to feel better. Getting yourself some new shoes, a new gadget, or something to brighten up your home would be a common way to spend a day off.

However, in recent years, consumer tastes have shifted from buying “things” to wanting more “experiences”.

In 2019, Momentum Worldwide reported that 76% of consumers prefer to spend money on things to do rather than material objects with people looking for “inspiration and meaning” where they spent their money.

This is why “Instagrammable” restaurants, bars and cafes have become popular. Friends love being able to hang out together and get great photos that they can share online.

Retailers can still benefit by turning browsing and buying their products into an experience. It allows people to enjoy the moment rather than feeling like a simple business transaction.

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