Linda Johansen-James is Founder of International Retail Group, a Global Retail Management and Consulting Firm. She is very optimistic about the future of retail and thinks that “digitally native brands and entrepreneurs looking to launch their brand in retail will have a better chance of success now”.
What do you think the post-COVID retail landscape will look like?
I believe that you will see more pop-up shops and less long term leases. I believe that digitally native brands and entrepreneurs looking to launch their brand in retail will have a better chance of success now. Lower rents, better locations and customers that still want to touch and feel their products. Also showrooming will be the norm. By on-line and pick up in-store and buy in store and have it shipped to you will become the norm. Omnichannel retailing will become part of our everyday lives.
Customers still want to touch and feel their products
What will be the biggest problem or weakness that the physical store have to deal with?
It is keeping up with technology. Integrating all of their systems to make buying easier for the consumer is not inexpensive. To stay competitive and drive sales and know what the consumer wants is essential in today’s retail market.
What role will technology play?
Technology is key. Software that tells you everything you need to know about your customer is key. Who is buying from you and when and where do they stand in your store is essential. Integrating your inventory management system with your in-store POS is essential. Today’s consumer wants Ease of Buying. They will go from in-store, on-line and curbside and if you don’t offer all of these things, they will go where they do.
Know what the consumer wants is essential in today’s retail market
How will customer loyalty be achieved?
By listening to your customers. Plain and simple. It is about time that retailers listen. If they don’t, and they don’t’ provide the best customer service, they won’t be in business long.
Are you optimistic about the future of retail?
Yes. We are social creatures and we still want to go out and shop. I am very optimistic.