Looking ahead at a year that will most certainly see a continued evolution of what retail is and what it does, I am excited at the prospects of participating in, toying with and influencing that evolution.
When the 2013 holiday shopping season ended, it resulted in sluggish results for U.S. retailers. Price-match policies worked to fend off some showrooming, but these discounts also ate up margins at a very unhealthy rate.
Remember the days when stores differentiated themselves against the competition on service? When consumers sought out expert product recommendations from knowledgeable sales associates? And bought from the one who worked hardest to help them find just the right product for their needs?
If a sacred cow exists among retail strategists today, the price-match is undoubtedly it. As the weapon of first resort, it is the most obvious defense against the rapid rise of “showrooming” and the unbridled growth of online retailing behemoths like Amazon, ruthlessly cutting into retailers’ profits.
While it is true that customer loyalty programs have revolutionized the way retailers engage with consumers, initially, loyalty programs were designed only as a data capture mechanism to drive a company’s marketing efforts.