Time for consumer retail brands to find their ‘Meaning in the Retail Madness.’

It would be fair to say that the retail industry has lost its way over recent years.

In my own work, I have become increasingly disillusioned with the strategies and operational practices of businesses that have grown to ‘love volumes over value’ and ‘buying efficiencies over retail excellence.’

There has been an over-obsession with technology, and the misguided view that it can replace the intelligence and integrity of an engaged and enthusiastic workforce.

Whilst at the same time, the de-humanising of “customers to consumers,” through the churning of data without meaning or purpose has reduced the people who buy our products to nothing more than a commodity.

This madness has created a world where the product itself has equally become just a commodity, and where superficial marketing and price promotions have become the primary tools to drive sales and buy short-term customer loyalty.

‘Local & community,’ has been replaced by ‘global & efficiency’ set against a culture which considers all means, including the exploitation of the planet, as legitimate for commercial ends.

What retail madness we have fallen into.

The fact is that growing numbers of retailers are now, not only failing to be environmentally sustainable, but they are also failing to be commercially sustainable. In our saturated consumer world, brands are being forced to chase ever-smaller increases, for share of ever diminishing markets.

The clamour for ‘retail meaning’ has been growing. The customer is seeking a new way to buy things.

Despite, or even possibly a result of, the pressures of price inflation, we are now re-discovering the added value of products, and the benefits they must bring to our lives. We are increasingly scrutinising the ethics and values of the brands and the retailers that we give our money to.

In response. the meaning and value of people is being re-awakened within enlightened retailers, who are investing again in the essential human interface between themselves and the customer, as physical retail re-establishes itself as the pre-eminent channel.

From ‘exploiting the planet’ to ’nourishing the local,’ there is a new and healthy obsession with the commercial and social importance behind our customer communities.

There is a return to true retailing, to ‘selling!’

From ‘product supply chains’ to ‘passion supply chains’ smart buying is being enhanced through intelligent partnerships with suppliers and producers. Where the passion for the product and the brand is instilled and transferred from the factory-floor to the shopfloor.

We are once again excited by what we buy. And we are once more inspired by the businesses we buy from.

Brand ‘transparency’ and ‘authenticity’ are the new differentiators.

In this changing consumer environment, brands and retailers that are ethical & sustainable are tantalisingly and perfectly positioned to satisfy this customer desire for products that improve their physical and mental wellbeing, and for brands and retailers that are bringing ‘meaning and integrity’ into their lives.

In fact, why would we trust a business with our own welfare & wellbeing, when it has little consideration for the wellbeing of its employees, for the communities that it serves, and for society in general?

What an opportunity to be a trailblazer in the world of ethical and sustainable retailing.

Value your product, value your employees and value your customers. Ensure that you are part of the ‘new meaning of retail!’

In the meantime…

Intelligent ‘Retail Intelligence’ is featured in the new book – ‘Meaning in the Retail Madness – How to be an Essential Retailer’

If you’d like to read my book for many more retailer insights and best practice. And to here my thoughts on retail’s future, then that’s an excellent idea.

'Meaning in the Retail Madness: How to be an Essential Retailer' Out now. Available worldwide across amazon and popular online booksellers

I hope that the sections on how to flourish in the ‘The life and times of the Essential Retailer’ how to evolve ‘Agile Organisations’ and excel in ‘Astute Strategies’ may be a source of inspiration and guidance. You will also find 70 action plans and 90 retail best practice insights that may help you to assess your current weaknesses and opportunities.

Enjoy your read.