Exceptional retailing has always been based on the superb execution of the 6 P’s which drove traffic and profitable basket.
- Proposition – how you matter versus why you matter.
- Product – the right merchandise, merchandised right.
- Price – the perfect balance between margin and momentum.
- Place – location, location, location.
- Promotion – creative, convincing and cultivating.
- People – promises made, promises kept.
Today the 6 P’s have been mashed and even smashed by the weight of the Platform Economy which harnesses the mobile phone as a Trojan Horse to bring in the world each consumer covets, with hyper-personalization and precision.
Amazon, Alibaba, Shopify, eBay, Facebook, Google, Uber, Airbnb, Netflix, Spotify, Apple, Hello Fresh and thousand of more digital matchmakers are rendering the conventional rules of retail, hospitality and tourism, or all others who rely on a physical space, obsolete. Some even do it without holding their own inventory.
Amazon, the world’s biggest vending machine, has moved into antitrust territory with an almost 50% share of online retail in North America, which is more than their next ten competitors combined. This platform is powered by algorithms, not window displays and will get faster, better and more efficient.
For conventional retail, who must compete with their brick-and-mortar, or even with an omnichannel offering, there is no middle ground or status quo.
You must either choose to make things happen or you will wonder what happened.
Many retailers are in ‘the wonder what happened’ category. They lack differentiation, competition is intense, and their marketplace is saturated. Their six P’s have collapsed into Price being their primary tiebreaker. They are caught in a vortex of continuous cost-cutting to maintain some semblance of margins. A tiring gauntlet that even the best can try to run, but all will eventually succumb.
Today the 6 P’s have been mashed and even smashed by the weight of the Platform Economy which harnesses the mobile phone as a Trojan Horse to bring in the world each consumer covets, with hyper-personalization and precision.You can change your destiny, and make things happen by countering the Platform Economy. What you will require is a consumer centric and operational mindset that extends beyond clever slogans, door crashers and store makeovers to how we are wired. Humans are restless creatures who are rarely satisfied. We are on a continuous quest to survive, provide, seek, learn, connect, validate, and improve our life and our family’s life and livelihood.
Why Not Answer Their Quest?
Conventional retail can be a key point of embarkment and engagement to satisfy and enhance human quests. You can play a transformative role by helping consumers get to where they want to go and with security and certainty.
To do so requires a change in focus from being a place to buy to the place to be. Why not become a destination where consumers can find their individual Be’s – some to be happy, others to be fulfilled, enlightened, energized, excited, confident, relevant, alive, or to be with like-minded people.
When your essence is the ‘place to be’, your destination beats to the synchronicity of emotion of human connections, something that online can try to fabricate but never authenticate as machines do not have a heart.
Staging the place to be, however, offers infinite proportions and performances and one that proves the adage – ‘you can’t be all things to all people’. You must determine what you can be outstanding at and then calibrate your persona, presentation, products, and the adaptation of new technology, accordingly.
To do so requires a change in focus from being a place to buy to the place to be.
An independent retailer, for example, might choose to be like Sam and his bar in the 1980’s TV hit Cheers, a neighborhood bar/oasis where everyone knows your name and your favourite beer is served without asking for it. ‘This is ‘my’ butcher shop,’ or ‘I go there to buy ‘my’ unique gifts’.
A grocery chain focused on higher margin items like organics, and artisan products must choose to be inspiring and enlightening. They must channel their inner Martha Stewart to show how to make impossible dishes possible, and how to add a twist to familiar foods to create an Instagram worthy dinner party or backyard BBQ. Their home meal replacement must be convenient and adventurous. An ethnic grocery store must be inviting, encouraging and inclusive so that they can broaden their customer base and encourage experimentation – Stories that connect food and preparation to their culture to allow for even more immersion.