From past to present to future, retail is going to be about ‘location’

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Traditionally, the retail industry has been focused on selling products that have been produced and in order to be able to sell those products, it was necessary for retail marketers to follow the principles of the AIDA model. In other words, they had to draw attention of consumers towards new products in the market and spike their interest in those products by various methods. Their very next move was to cultivate that interest into a desire for the product and then drive consumers towards taking an action, in most cases, purchasing the product and thus completing the sale for the business.

Times have changed and the traditional model of retail has undergone a massive disruption where the focus has moved from selling to understanding and then fulfilling the needs of the customer. The retail industry of today has the customer in the driver’s seat, and for retailers it is all about getting to know the customers’ desire better and create products and services that are able to satisfy those needs. Having said that, the basic principles of marketing in retail – attention, interest, desire and action, still hold good but the context of application of these principles may have changed since the modern day customers are mostly aware and attuned to what they want and generally from where they are going to purchase their products or receive the service(s) they seek.

While the retail industry has treaded this journey from a traditional being to what we call as omni-channel retail in the modern day world, there is one factor that principally, still has a formidable impact on the success of any retail business. And that is ‘location’. Let’s deep dive into this conundrum.

Again going back to the past, while the retail market was product/service oriented, the essentiality of getting these to be noticed by customers compelled retailers to look for the best location to station their offerings, generally a busy place where prospective customers usually frequented. And this importance on the physical location is still a foothold for most retail brands who are running their brick-and-mortar stores. Because, in spite of the rise of e-commerce and mobile commerce, most consumers still prefer to shop at stores and many stats have proven this fact.

Now that’s just one aspect in the context of the location where in the physical location plays an essential part in the success of the retail business. Today, retail is about omni-channel and about unified commerce, and the customer is at the epicenter of the business. The rat race to win the customer is on and the location factor plays an important role to win this race. However, here is where the other aspect in the context of the location comes handy. Taking some cues from the past, getting the products/services to where the customers are is still the right thing to do. But with the advent of the internet and mobile devices and social media, the customer has now become the location as he/she is all over. So today, it is not only about the physical presence, but also the virtual or online presence of the retail brands and moreover, the presence in the right places and channels that’s what is extremely critical. Getting the right product at the right time at the right price is necessary but also at the right place is more than half the battle won. The remaining bit is getting the right message/communication across at the right time and through the right channels or mediums to the customer will enable retailers to have maximum impact and stand out from the rest, to seal the deal with their end customers.

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