By Laura Davis-Taylor, EVP, customer experience, MaxMedia
The leaders at the top of our iconic retail brands were warned that their businesses were spiraling into oblivion. They didn't listen, and the implications are monumental.
The advent of digital has changed life as we know it, including the shopping experience. The state of retail is now evolve or die. The dogma of old school retail leadership is now a blueprint for what NOT to do. Bowing down to short-term profits rather than long-term evolution and sustainability just prolongs the inevitable.
The path to change
Like most business challenges, people are the center of the problem — but they are also the way forward. But they must change, and change is hard.
The psychology community has a fairly standard viewpoint on the phases of change, steps that are often employed for helping addicts. It's uncanny how applicable they are in relation to retail change management, and it starts with admitting that you have a problem. Think about this as you contemplate brick and mortar retail's current predicament.
Change the story
As a retail experience design company, we must serve as human anthropologists to get through. As guerrilla anthropologists, we also must understand psychology.
At MaxMedia, we must leverage these ideals to change the story so that brick and mortar not only survives, but adapts to our new world. The story in my head as it pertains to the 'now and next' for retail leadership is:
"This is a scary time and every move you make is public and rife with monumental implications. We want the same things that you do — a successful business outcome. We aren't going to get there, because you believe you have all the answers and won't open your mind to hearing what your management teams and customers think."
Time is running short to have these conversations. Prove that you care through actions that fix today's issues while anticipating how to delight moving forward. Strategize and execute offensive plans, disruptors and new paradigms. Support and applaud new ways of thinking through a holistic and global view. This about people, and making them feel valued. The ultimate reward is their irrational loyalty.
In the words of Jeffery Sears, CEO of Pirch and a shining light in retail, "every customer that walks into my store is a gift and a privilege."
He believes in focusing not on what you do as a retailer, but why. This means starting at ground zero and questioning every the status quo. By the way, Pirch is the second most successful retailer regarding sales per square foot, does no advertising and has an average store visit of two hours.
We love retail at MaxMedia — so much so that one of our key monikers is our commitment to "make everyone fall in love with shopping a little more."
Please retail leadership, don't let this downward trend keep spiraling. We want to help. Come with us — let's face this thing and, together, let's pave a new outcome.
Laura Davis-Taylor Digital Signage Federation Board of Directors and is a published author on retail.