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2012 A Year of Change...My Top Ten changes - John Stanley

Over the last few weeks I have received various articles and Blogs on the changes we can expect over the next twelve months. Very few of those reports have been positive in their predictions. In fact as retailers we are told wherever we live we will have a gloomy year ahead.

We are now at the start of the New Year and the stock market is looking healthier that it has for many weeks; even some retailers are seeing an increase in their stock market figures.

When I produced the White Paper I focused on the changes that will take place over the next ten years in the industry, in this report I felt I should focus on the changes and opportunities I see occurring in the next twelve months.

So here goes with my top ten;

1 Avoid the Big Ticket Items

Consumers will be more frugal this year. Researchers in the UK predict that the Brits will spend 1 Billion pound less this year than last. The same will be true for other countries.

This reduction in spending will not affect all retailers, in fact sharp retailers in the food and garden sector could see an increase in sales as families stay at home and cooking and gardening become more of a pastime. But, it will be the small ticket items that will prosper.

The big ticket items are the ones that you will find it difficult to sell. Furniture, carpet and white goods retailers will especially find it more difficult to survive while food and garden retailers whether the storm.

2 Weekday Convenience and Weekend Experience

These will be the major drivers in 2012 in retailing. The consumer will expect you to provide convenience in the week which may mean you will need to offer different services in the week. At the weekend they want your store to WOW them and therefore more theatrical events will need to be organised at weekends to catch the consumer’s attention.

3 Social media de-cluttering as a Marketing tool

Many social media guru’s are predicting that as business people we will start analysing which social media channels are really working for our businesses. We will discard some and focus on others. I could not agree more. Social media will be a major marketing tool. Those retailers who do not join in the social media marketing surge will quickly get left behind, but it will be a less cluttered social media world.

4 Video and Pictures will grow as Marketing tools.

A picture is worth a 1,000 words so the saying goes. I could not agree more, we will be putting more videos and more pictures online to sell our story to our customers. This may be an important area for us all to learn new skills

5 Fewer staff, but better staff

Many retailers have forgotten how important their people are and have forgotten to train them in how to be the best hosts in town. In this area of common sense many business are failing badly. Customer interaction will be a real key to success.

6 Networking with other retailers.

Independent businesses cannot survive, in my view, on their own. The future means networking either in a group within the industry sector or with retailers within your community, or in fact in both areas. To be a truly independent retailer and not engage with other retailers could be a major mistake.

7 Your Local Community will be the key

Customer will engage with retailers that they feel support their community. This is why farmers market shave been so successful in recent years. The consumers want to know your values and value and want you to be consistent in getting that message across

8 Price flexibility

All the research shows that price is a driver and nothing will change in 2012. Many retailers have been too inflexible in their pricing and I predict we will see a lot more price flexibility in 2012. This does not mean discounting. There may be special offers, but at the same time other products may be increased in price.

9 Seasonality will reappear

We are in a seasonal industry and we will need to start to celebrate all the seasons. General retailers in the USA work on a 13 seasonal campaign to generate sales. The industry need to re-embrace the seasons and use this as a marketing opportunity.

10 Fewer but better

There will be fewer retailers doing what we do. But, the retailers who are left will be stronger as a result of the clean out that is taking place.

This is an exciting and challenging period, to quote the QANTAS slogan...”Enjoy the Journey”

Source: John Stanley - 2012 A Year of Change...My Top Ten changes