Whilst some continue to say we are in the midst of a retail apocalypse, others look optimistically to two types of stores continuing to flourish: price-based stores offering value on everyday items, and more specialist, luxury boutiques which deliver both aesthetic and educational rewards to its visitors.
The trap door seems to have opened for those shops wondering aimlessly around the middle ground, with unremarkable and undifferentiated propositions. This is backed up by a bold new report from Deloitte: ´The Great Retail Bifurcation’, bringing hefty data evidence to the hypothesis.
So what are the habits of those stuck in the middle? Here are the 5 things we’ve noticed suck the life out of a retail offering:
Generic, Pile-them-high Products
Endless rails of plain, shapeless cotton tops with a floppy chest pocket posing as it’s only design feature just doesn’t cut it anymore. No one is in a ‘buy-it-for-the-sake-of-it’ mood, you’ve got to inspire us with couture-level creative flare.
Lack of Newness
One of the main reasons that Zara continues to stay top of the shops is that it brings in new designs straight off the catwalk every 2-4 weeks. Now-a-days, customers can start to smell the mould on the stitches within a couple of weeks.
With the likes of Anthropologie and their vintage emporium displays, Nike with futuristic lighting installations and Selfridges diverse, active and empowering body shapes, shop displays are upping their game. A row of sad looking mannequins draped in a sale sash are never going to make it on to Instagram.
Bored Looking Sales Assistants Biting their Nails
Retailers wanting to pull people away from online shopping and into theirs stores should keep in mind that 1 in 2 people think product knowledge is the most important in-store service. So next time there is a recruitment drive, it should focus on finding those with energy, presence and all the product training they can possibly take.
Available on Every High Street
With over 2,500 store closures announced so far in 2018, the message is loud and clear that many shops have got carried away – over-distributing stock and underwhelming customers. It’s time to think more carefully who customers are what they want and make each shop somewhere worth making a trip for.
What shops leave you falling asleep in the fitting rooms?
Stuck in the middle with you:
GAP Inc – Plans to close 200 Gap and Banana Republic locations over the next three years.
New Look – 1.2 billion pounds in dept.
Next – 8.1% drop in annual pre-tax profits.
Arcadia Group – In the final quarter of 2017, turnover fell 5.6%.
Marks & Spencer – Plans to close a 100 shops by 2022.
J Crew – Will close another 20 stores in 2018 on top of the 50 it shut it 2017.
Sears – Sales fell 15.6 percent during the fourth quarter of 2017.
J.C.Penny – 1150 jobs will be cut at the distribution centre and across 8 store closures in 2018.
Abercrombie & Fitch – A 7% fall in sales, its 16th straight quarterly sales decline.
Footlocker – Will shut down 110 stores in 2018.