It’s not new that digital is infiltrating the world of retail. What is new is that it’s not about the digital taking over to the demise of the physical retail environment. It’s a world where the two will converge, co-exist and even complement each other.
The two keynote speakers at this year’s RCC conference – Store2014 – kicked off the events with some bold direction on how Canadian retailers need to change now before they are forced to and what it takes to be successful in a global market.
Michael Medline, President CTC imparted 4 tips – be nimble, dream big and act fast, be personal and be prepared to shift your culture so you can do all of this. Kevin O’Leary also calls it like it is. His tips for being successful are simple commandments we have all heard before. Culture is key and you need to immediately remove those who are toxic and don’t fit in. The customer always comes first. Service always trumps price. The boss doesn’t always make the most money, everyone is replaceable and lastly business is war – never underestimate a competitor.
Both reassure that retail is not seeing the death of bricks and mortar but rather a convergence of the physical with the digital. This was supported by a panel of small retailers who shared trends that show customers are coming home.
The desire to shop local and Canadian is growing and as retailers big and small we need to get ready for that and focus on driving service. One veteran says retailers need to ‘love and hug and kiss the customer’ because they will always want to shop because it’s social and an important part of life.
It’s not about beating digital, global players or competitors at their own game – it’s about changing the game to win. It’s about remaining customer and service focused, something that remains core to our values at CBSF.