Barry Loughran: “I see retail elevating as long as the brand can keep up with customer needs”

Written by Flame

Keep up with customer needs - Retail interview

In a world where the retail landscape is constantly evolving, it’s crucial to gain insights from those at the forefront of the industry. Barry Loughran, the EMEA Retail Operations Manager at Dr. Martens, offers a unique perspective shaped by years of experience and a keen eye for emerging trends.

In this exclusive interview, we delve deep into the current panorama of retail, exploring its challenges, virtues, and the technological innovations reshaping the sector. Loughran’s perspective sheds light on the dynamic interplay between traditional brick-and-mortar stores and the ever-expanding realm of online retail.

Retail Interview – The key is to keep up with customer needs

We begin by analyzing the current panorama. How do you currently see the retail sector?

Retail sector is currently in a challenging phase due to many reasons but there are the brands that really stand out and push quality and service as their focus (gym shark ,Hermes, to name a few). However sustainably is key also, especially to gen z and I see this as a real opportunity.

Are you one of those who believe that the traditional/offline store will disappear or do you think that a more omnichannel model will prevail?

I can actually see a resurgence – example look at rough trade and hmv who have completely turned the dial on this – it hasn’t happened by accident it’s due to vision, consumer experience and having authenticity (again I can see the likes of gym shark, Asop really excelling in this – it’s that fresh approach and it’s proving to be winning).

What are its defects and virtues in front of online retail?

I think after Covid people want to get back to pubs, restaurants and shops and get that consumer facing. What I can see as defects are not being able to change it up and improve the experience including delivery experience.

Dr. Martens retail stores

What is the biggest problem or weakness that retail has to face?

Quite a few actually including actually being able to lure talent to stores as it’s not as appealing, cost of rent for sure and you can see the high street and how this has impacted and support from our government with investment and infrastructure.

In the current context, what role does technology play in retail? Does it help to engage your customers?

Absolutely -for example RFID along side fulfill from store is the way forward -people are back in the office much more and at the same time they want everything now.. so click, order and pick up from their local store with in hours of ordering.

What does it take for a store to work? Is there a magic recipe?

It’s not magic, it’s just remembering that the first impact with a customer is lasting, be that meet and greet or the good bye at the till point – get customer service right and the right people in the store at the right time and right place (work force management ) is crucial.

How is customer loyalty achieved? How do you engage your customers?

As above -give them the service they deserve and you have the customer’s loyalty.

How do you see the future of retail?

I think it’s going to be tough this year but I also see retail elevating as long as the brand can keep up with customer needs (sustainability, right product and keep up with tech).

The future of retail is based on keeping up with customer needs

In conclusion, Barry Loughran’s perspective on the future of retail offers a compelling narrative of adaptation, innovation, and resilience. As the EMEA Retail Operations Manager at Dr. Martens, his insights reflect not only a deep understanding of the industry but also a visionary approach to navigating its challenges.

As we look towards the future, Loughran’s optimism shines through, tempered by a pragmatic acknowledgment of the hurdles that lie ahead. By embracing change, prioritizing customer needs, and staying attuned to emerging trends, retailers can chart a course towards continued success in an ever-evolving landscape.

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