We met with Peter to discuss his newly found interest in modern retail strategy.
- What, in your opinion, is currently changing in the retail industry? “The world is changing at a rapid pace and so is the consumers living in it. The way I see it Social Medias and digital devices are some of the strongest contributors to a changing retail environment and consumer behavior. In my opinion, “digital” has and is influencing consumers in multiple ways. First consumers are increasingly being enabled to dictate what they want as well as when and where they want it. They are sort of becoming both the critics and the creators; on one hand, they demand personalized experiences but on the other, they expect to be given the opportunity to shape the products they consume.Secondly, Digital has opened the gate to a world of information and choices, which I believe is making the consumer purchasing process far more complex. It has, contrary to many peoples beliefs, turned out to be demotivating with too many choices. “Trop de choix tue le choix” they say in France, it means ‘too much choice kills the choice’, which in my own experience has turned out to be very true.”
- With these trends in mind, how would you advice retailers to play in the future? “First of all it’s necessary to highlight that different types of retailers demand different types of “plays”. But I certainly believe the businesses that start building personalization and customization into their value chain will have an opportunity to create a differentiated value proposition that may command price premiums and will increase consumer traffic. Personalization and customization however, might require an overhaul of business operations in terms of both operating models, core processes and strategy, but the benefits and upsides are great. The overarching benefits being the deep deep insight firms will acquire about their consumers wants and needs as well as the chance to simplify product and service ranges. One of the major keys to success in this world of abundance will be mastering and executing the ability to offer consumers relevance. Positive consumer response will be generated when the right content, both products and marketing, is offered to the right customer at the right time. So be relevant or be forgotten.”
- What about data and analytics? Does it play a role here? “Absolutely – data and analytics are essential in executing the personal experience for consumers. The retail industry is rather data heavy and developments in the field of analytics are granting businesses the capabilities to understand what consumers want – and especially what they do not want. Analytics tools can really help retailers create relevance by matching the right content with the right consumer. Amazon is a great example of analytics empowerment as they are able to provide tailored content to their visitors, for example by offering product recommendations based on everything the consumer does online. That is pretty unique.”