Focus 03: The New Purpose: Transactions

In our final week of daily bite sized snippets, we explore THE NEW PURPOSE.

Today’s topic is: TRANSACTIONS

Every brand and retailer needs something different from physical retail. What they need and the extent to which they need it will depend on the brand, the sector and the size of store portfolio. But one thing that all brands and retailers have in common is that changes are required to meet a new purpose.

Physical retail is needed not least for transactions, as online simply can’t deliver close to the consumption levels needed to meet demand. But the pandemic has brought into focus the huge potential to develop the symbiotic relationship between physical and online retail to result in a true multichannel offer.

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For many consumers, being able to take products away there and then is one of the most important benefits of physical retail. Sometimes consumers want products ‘now’ through lack of planning or immediate need, but mostly through the satisfaction of buying something they want and taking it home straight away.

Consumers may now make more considered decisions and a high level of prepurchase research will continue, but many will still look to physical retail for the reassurance of seeing, trying or experiencing products in the flesh before making a final choice. But in the short to medium term brands and retailers face a number of fulfilment challenges in physical stores and online.

  • Particularly for fashion brands and retailers, online retail comes with considerable issues such as consumers ordering multiple options with a plan to return what they don’t want, resulting in stock in transit between DC and consumers homes that can’t be sold.
  • Both in physical stores and online, quarantining or cleaning product that has been tried on or returned will have an impact on profitability. Not only will the cleaning process require additional resource, it will result in stock being unavailable for a period of time.
  • Equally consumers will want to be reassured about availability in store before making the trip to physical retail, challenging brands and retailers to have the right product in the right place at the right time.
  • Real-time stock tracking will become more important, as well as improving options relating to reserve in store and click & collect.
  • There will also be significant gains for brands and retailers who can use ship from store models to support online fulfilment rather than relying on main DC’s, facilitating a wider range of choice and stock availability across all channels and faster response times in remote markets.
  • Brands and retailers who have the capacity for flexible volumes of stock in store will be at an advantage.
  • Methods of transactions in store also need to be reviewed as many consumers will demand contactless payment processes and avoid cash payments.

Beyond initial learnings gained after stores have opened, new objectives around transactions and fulfilment need to be defined and shared resources and services between physical stores and online explored.

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Every brand and retailer will face different challenges based on the sector, their product offer and physical space, but there are a number of things that brands and retailers can do now to maximise stock availability and increase the number of transactions.

  • Work towards creating a single view of stock, together with providing consumers with clear visibility of product availability across all channels.
  • Review the key triggers that lead to transactions, focusing on core sales drivers and considering reducing the breadth of range to support with fulfilment and bring focus to the offer.
  • Review the role of store teams to maximise efficiency and consider redefining their purpose, building in more flexibility that may see store staff moving to warehouse roles to support fulfilment and services.
  • Review different ways that consumers can browse in store such as a ‘select and view’ serviced offer that may work more effectively in relation to stock management, while feeling like a more premium experience. Particularly in fashion, it may no longer be desirable or viable for consumers to browse through product.
  • Re-consider product volumes and merchandising techniques in store to meet demand and maximise transactions, while being viable from a ‘handling’ and stock management perspective.
  • Work towards a best-in-class click & collect and reserve in store service and introducing a ship from store model to support online fulfilment.
  • As maintaining cleanliness and convenience will remain key priorities for some time, re-consider each step of the customer journey in store and each aspect of the transaction process to be as streamline, contactless and as efficient as possible.

We can help you to identify the key drivers to stimulate sales in store and develop creative solutions that maximise the customer journey, evolve display methods and develop solutions that facilitate new services and evolved operations.

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As brands and retailers open their doors again and consumers return to stores, what can you do now to identify and implement both the subtle and more far-reaching changes that are needed to fulfil the new purpose of your physical retail.

Get in touch if you would like to arrange a virtual workshop with our founding Directors Adrian & Jenny to see how can help you work through your opportunities, or download the full document HERE

Lucy

Lucy Moore

15th July 2020