When one looks out across the retail landscape, it’s true that things are changing fast. According to Christian Davies, Executive Creative Director, Americas at FITCH, “Retail will change more in the next five years than it has in the last 50.” It’s also true that this pace of change has taken its toll on many retailers. However, the news out there isn’t all dire. There are success stories and they usually share the common themes of being agile, adapting to changing customer’s expectations, and creating innovations that keep them relevant to their customer.
Futurist Doug Stephens, author of the book Reengineering Retail, shares that the growth of E-commerce and technology has shifted consumer expectations and that, “retail is on the precipice of a historic reinvention that will leave… (retail)… barely recognizable in comparison to the way we shop today.”
Our Goodwill is doing some great work to drive sales in this tough economic environment. We’ve been championing several initiatives to adapt to and engage with our changing customer base. Here are a few strategies we have deployed:
- We launched an E-commerce business selling books, media, jewelry, LEGOS and musical instruments online. We plan to expand into more categories in the future. Our brick and mortar stores will always be extremely important to collecting donations and supporting our mission; and will always feature thousands of great items to shop. However, specialty items and high value items will be promoted via E-commerce, giving them visibility to a wider customer base, and driving more sales to support our great mission.
- We’ve leveraged new technologies across our stores to understand our customer’s shopping patterns and gauge customer satisfaction called "ShopperTrak" and "Happy or Not." These tools provide insights on customer shopping behavior and satisfaction levels. We can leverage this information to enhance scheduling and merchandising tactics to provide the best experience across each individual store.
- We’ve adapted our merchandising and marketing strategies to provide more engaging experiences that keep Goodwill top of mind in our customer’s hearts and minds as a place they want to visit and shop. Some examples of these are: store Surprise and Delight events, pop-up shops of special merchandise collections, and special events held at stores with community partners.
- We are also developing new revenue streams to reach new customers. We opened our first outlet store in July which introduced our Goodwill brand to a totally new type of shopper!
There is much more work to do, this is just the beginning. While this is a challenging time to work in retail, it is also a very exciting time to work in retail. We’ve got some great talent in retail working hard on developing strategic initiatives to keep the Goodwill mission growing well into the future.