The retail landscape is changing. There is a seismic shift in the way consumers shop. Shoppers have unlimited choices when it come to where they spend their hard-earned money. Retailers who follow these simple steps will gain a significant sustainable competitive advantage.
Retailers cannot possibly be experts in everything they sell and in every category. They need brands to help them. They need brands to provide actionable insights, information they currently do not have access to.
Savvy retailers want and need brands to up their game – to provide true category leadership. This does not mean that brands need to spend money they currently do not have to invest in expensive tools. On the contrary, retailers need brands to educate them on who their shoppers are, how they shop their stores, and the items they purchase alongside their brand.
The category leader is any brand willing and able to provide additional insights to the retailer to help them drive sustainable sales, increase shopper foot traffic, and provide insights into current and future trends in the category. A category leader is an expert in their products as well as their competitor’s products. A category leader is a brand that has a solid selling story that includes insights into their shoppers in addition to fact-based actionable insights into the category and the market.
An excellent example of a retailer doing things right is Lucky’s Market. I interviewed Ben Friedland on episode 43 of the Brand Secrets and Strategies podcast. Here are some the recommendations we discussed:
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- Become an eager “storyteller”. Partner with brands who are great story tellers. Champion brands that have a strong message that resonates with your core shoppers. Use what Ben referred to as the “zero moment of truth” where you’re selling story builds demand before the consumer see the product on your shelves.
- Communicate your passion in everything you do. Stay true and committed to your founding principals and mission. Celebrate what makes you unique and how you are different.
- Strategically partner with brands willing and able to take a leadership role in the category. Collaborate with category leaders to identify and stay on top of important trends. Encourage brands help educate your sales team so that they can better support your loyal shoppers.
- Focus on community first. Build a strong loyal community to help connect, unite, and integrate your local community. Become a hub for information, community activities, and education. Invite your brand partners to support this initiative through product demonstrations and educational opportunities.
- Empower your employees to identify and champion local products. Make it easy for their products to be showcased in your stores.
Following these simple strategies can create a win-win for the retailer and the brands that support them. Working together, you can help meet the needs of your local community turning occasional shoppers into loyal evangelists. This is how you remain relevant and competitive in any economy.
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