Hot weather hits retail sales! This headline goes against what has historically happened in the retail trade when the weather improves. Normally when we have good weather, footfall increases and sales follow. In February this year it seems the reverse was true.
In January the headline was “Bad weather hits Christmas shopping…” now the retail trade is starting to sound a bit like the rail networks blaming snow, rain, leaves and hot weather for delays to services, they are all excuses for bad planning and investment.
Having trained in the retail world I have long had an interest in how it is going to develop with the explosion of the internet and supporting technology. Unfortunately, it appears that many retailers are not adapting and constantly looking for excuses to explain their bad performance rather than realising that the majority of shopper’s habits are changing and in order to engage them retail needs to change fundamentally.
Retailers and brands alike need to provide reasons for people to engage with them and not just their products. The younger generations are more likely to switch brands and will do so for many reasons, not just design.
The high street is changing and those retailers who are succeeding are creating experiences for their customers and not just somewhere to buy a product. They are also reflecting that experience in their online presence as well. They are creating additional reasons for people to engage with the brand including environmental and community focused activity. A great example of this is skiwear brand Picture, who launched their brand with a unique message, their garments were made from recycled plastic bottles. Now when you ski in Europe they are everywhere. They recognised that skiers and snowboarders wanted to protect the environment and they have captured a significant slice of the market very quickly as a result of their approach.
My message to retailers and brands is to look at businesses like Picture and how they have engaged their market, do something different, but most importantly understand your audience and what they want and give them reasons to stay engaged.