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Show Me the...Numbers!

Rod Tidwell exhorted Jerry McGuire, “Show me the money!” Investors in retail and skeptics alike require retailers and brands to do the same.


We see more retailers and brands engaged in systematically testing new approaches to engaging shoppers and selling products. It’s ROI, baby. Yes, fear of being Amazoned out of existence drives some of this. More importantly, though, it’s about finding ways to better connect with shoppers – and having the numbers to prove it.


Nordstrom Local is an example of experimenting with new formats. Amazon Go, c-store startup Foxtrot and even venerable Macy’s are others, too. The first Apple Store appeared 17 years ago next month as a whole new way of retailing and they’ve been, um, pretty successful. They are the gold standard with the highest sales-per-square-foot in retaildom.


How will retailers find the right numbers? Here are several ways. (1) Small is beautiful. Out with giant footprints and in with more intimate, engaging environments that embrace the shopper. Lower investment can drive higher ROI. (2) More experiments – and failures. Creating concepts is easy; seeing how they work in practice is hard. Pop-up stores will remain popular tools for finding out what works – fast! (3) More personalization. Technology will enable stores to know you as a singular shopper, anticipating your needs and better preparing to meet them. (4) Better in-store help. Armed with more knowledge of you and tech tools at their fingerprints, stores will invest in better selection of and training for staff. And they’ll be paid better because they will deliver better value (ROI) for both the store and the shopper.
Retail will only keep getting better. And they’ll have the numbers to prove it.