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Retail brands: Innovate, or be swept out of the running

Profit is the name of the game and innovation is the tool for retailers to find success.

According to the latest consumer report by Nielsen, modern time’s brick and mortar stores need to innovate in order to compete with the ever growing e-commerce business. The survey revealed that shoppers are focused on value for their dollar, which means retailers need to pay extra close attention to consumers’ needs in order to sustain its relevance.

In a separate report, Nielsen also pinpointed five major requirements of retail brands that are most desired by consumers: convenience, choice, shopability, price-value, and brand equity. “Convenience” being essential as consumers lives get busier and more fast-paced.

It is critical that retail marketers keep pace with today’s consumers so as to draw them in when it comes time for them to shop.

So how can retail marketers stay relevant among the mass of multi-platform store formats and online shopping?

Follow the steads of Tesco

The UK-based brand has taken its physical store offerings to match customers’ demand for convenience. Tesco placed outlets everywhere, regardless of rural or metro areas. It stopped looking at only densely populated locations to expand and instead spanned its footprints in every residential area within a certain kilometre reach.

Online has changed the way shoppers interact with stores, so in order to encourage more engagement, the retail giant opted on a ‘click and collect’ programme, which the marketing lead behind the strategy says “is much more fun and convenient than having to wait at home during broad delivery windows.”

Forging new paths

The digital space has opened up a new line of execution for marketers: innovation.

“Value will be the focal point in 2014, as consumers seek greater value and marketers seek better value return for investment,” said Bala Pomaleh, CEO of Carat Malaysia while forecasting consumer behaviours in 2014. “Data will play a big role in assisting marketers to determine impact on business, potentially leap-frogging the industry towards performance marketing.”

Dramatic steps to have presence in the digital space must be taken for retailers. For example,in metropolitan South Korea, Tesco decided to offer commuters the capability of browsing its products through displays on the subway.  The service allowed consumers to scan the QR code of produces and a Tesco rep would then deliver the merchandise to the consumer.

Quick, painless and most importantly, convenient to its consumers.

This virtual interactivity for retail brands is perhaps key to gaining consumer loyalty. It’s also a rather outside of the box approach, which has since made Tesco the largest superstore in the world.

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