Adapting to an accelerated rate of change will be a critical aspect for retailer's future survival and success, according to leading retail consultant and author James Dion. While Darwinism is built on the belief that only the strong survive, Dion pointed out that Darwin actually stated: “It is not the strongest species that survive, not the most intelligent but the ones most responsive to change.”
In presenting "10 Trends That Will Make Or Break Your 2010" at tekSESSIONS 2009, Dion pointed out that retailers will need to look at new business models, products, services and messaging in order to provide the ehnanced customer experience required in today's competitive environment.
Because Web 2.0 tools have created a "transparent world" where information is accessible in near real-time, Dion said retailers are now forced to offer best-in-class products and services. "If the best is out there, consumers will know and flock to it," Dion said. "If you don't deliver the best, somebody else will along and you are toast!" He also added that the new retail battlefield is no longer limited to share of market, but is now more about share of wallet.
To succeed in this climate Dion encouraged retailers establish a change plan to address the new rules of business. To do this, he suggested retailers "look around" at what competitors and other industries are doing in terms of their design, services and experiences, and also "ask around" among their employees and consumers.
Some of the direct influences Dion pointed to that should factor into a retail strategy included:
Reviews: Dion cited research showing 70% of consumers now consult product reviews or ratings before making a purchase;
Price Comparisons: WIth new applications available on mobile devices, Dion pointed out that consumers can now not only find the 5 lowest prices for a product on the web, but also the 5 closest stores that are offering the product and the prices they offer. "It is no longer whether or not you or being compared, but what you are going to do about it," Dion said.
Information Exchange: Calling knowledge and information "the new addiction," Dion recommended create a forum for learning and sharing around their brand experience.
Instant Gratification: With communications tools like Twitter now topping 5 billion messages, Dion pointed out that consumers are now used to instant information through tracking, updating and alerting.
Making Digital Analog: Considering the growing influence of Web commerce, Dion suggested retailers need to mirror the online world offline.