I’ll have to admit to something. When I first read that major Accounting firm, Price Waterhouse Cooper, partnered with a retailing consulting agency to forecast trends for 2015, I was a little skeptical and excited. After all, at first glance, what would PWC know about retailing, consumers and ultimately where they were headed? It turns out they know a lot more than just auditing and tax.
I would have to agree with Dr.Meyer, my retailing professor, when I say that my favorite trend for 2015 was number 15; the Triple Bottom Line Scorecard. Why? Because it concisely summarizes what a retailer must do to stay in business. With this rule, people and the planet take the stage with profit being the last major piece in keeping a happy retail business. With the rise of content marketing and consumer involvement, it’s no wonder that retailers should focus on determining not only the needs of their target market but also their wants and desires, to which they should learn how to satisfy them with convenience and value. As retailers focus on understanding their “consumer persona”, they shift from being a “store that sells things that they want you to need” to a “store that sells things that you need before you even realize you need them.” Other important people that a retailer should focus on are their employees. After all, your employees are the driving force behind your business and should be paid fairly, treated with benefits and rewarded. It’s quite simple, the better you treat your employees, the better your business will perform and operate. Attracting and maintaining an excellent workforce will do wonders for your brand loyalty and retention…just imagine employees who feel so passionately about their employer that they would go out of their way to share experiences with prospective customers! Now that’s powerful.
The last piece of this trend involves how retailers will begin to focus more on their sustainable efforts. Most consumers are at least aware of the global impact that companies have and want to take action to reduce their carbon footprint. The majority of consumers lie in the “light green” section; they feel the need to do something but aren’t too sure what to do. It is best for retailers to recognize this need and capitalize on it, while also learning how their business impacts the world. As a compliment to sustainability efforts, companies can also lend a helping hand to humanitarian and philanthropic efforts. Consumers feel as though they don’t have the power to make a huge improvement in the lives of barefoot children within 3rd world countries, but TOMS will do it for them while adding value and a sense of gratitude to their products. Seeing a company do good for the world will attract consumers indefinitely and inspire them to build up your brand through word of mouth marketing. In his famous TedTalk “Start with Why”, Simon Sinek says that “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it…” 2015 will be the year that retailers and consumers alike will understand and practice this ingenious piece of advice.