So let’s consider what we have learnt in this series.
How Traditional Retailing works.
We’ve looked at traditional retail, and the role of manufacturers, distributors and retailers and the part they play in getting products in front of the consumer. We have looked at different types of retailers, and their shared objectives, of achieving a profit ,by practising the art of arbitrage. That is by purchasing and subsequently selling a product or commodity to profit from a difference in the price.
We have learnt how the Buying and merchandising teams forecast and purchase stock, how the planning process works, how product is sourced, what is meant by direct imports, and the advantages and disadvantages of sourcing from different places.
We have defined terms such as product mix, margin, range planning, and profit targets. We have looked at why discounting happens. We have thought about legal and compliance issues.
The internet era
Then we looked at new developments in the era of internet retailing, considered the speed of technological changes, and the effect of them on retailers.
We learnt about multi-channel retailing, click n collect, content marketing, and touchpoint. Mobile enabled website, Location based marketing, and other new trends and developments
We considered the effect of mobile devices on shopping and the need to optimise websites for use on mobiles, and the ability to take payments on mobile devices. We looked at some new payment technologies too.
We looked at the effect on the delivery industry and the new developments and opportunities emerging there. And then we looked at Digital Retail Media – a fantastic opportunity which will spawn its own industry and produce some great opportunities. Finally we looked at new retail models and some emerging trends
It is only by having an appreciation of traditional retailing and how it works, that we can anticipate where retailing might go in the very near future. Our shopping patterns will change irrevocably as the internet turns our world upside down. What opportunities will there be for us in this new world?
In many countries and regions, there will be small local retailers for many years to come. But as internet shopping takes hold in many countries, the traditional high street or shopping area will come under threat, and will have to evolve or die.
It is already looking likely that the mobile smartphone will play a key role in the revolution, or evolution of shopping. Consumers can view the market and its offers right on their screen. They can compare products and prices, search for discounts, and make their selection. They can pay for it and arrange delivery, all without looking up from their screen! They don’t need to leave their own home.
So what of the traditional row of shops? Perhaps they will just become showrooms, and enable consumers to handle the goods, maybe try them on. Stock will not be held in every branch of a shop, but in a distribution point, and be dispatched to the consumer after their purchase. Think of the implications for the retailer –they no longer need to hold stock in every store, in every size and colour. They can distribute single orders to their clients. They will have to contend with returned goods though, and there will be a cost attached to that, which will be offset against the savings in stockholding.
But to entice people into stores in the first place, perhaps they will need to offer more. Become a destination for a family day out? Offer parking, covered shopping areas protected from the weather. Perhaps there will be more shopping malls, with cinemas and restaurants in them, play areas for the children.
And the existing high streets may be turned into homes, schools, doctors or dentists offices. Beauticians, hairdressers, nail bars.
And how will the internet evolve? Anything is possible – It is limited only by our imagination now.
I do hope that this Retail series has given you an insight into the workings of retail and its management, and perhaps inspired some of you to consider a career in Retail Management.
Maybe you will grasp some of the opportunities that will be presented in this brave new world, and become a Retail Leader?
Good Luck !!