Is 2020 Make or Break For Retailers?

If we thought 2019 was tough for traditional retailers, 2020 is going to see even more disruption. It’s been a shocking start to the year with recent announcements of 169 store closures, at Bardot, Curious Planet, Harris Scarfe, EB games and Bose. Then on top of that came the announcement that 146 store retailer Jeanswest are in trouble.

As in previous years retailers have been relying on the busy Xmas period to bring in sales to carry them through the rest of the year. These closures may point to that Xmas period not being as good as predicted, given the massive sales around Black Friday and Cyber Monday that took place pre-Xmas.

So what’s going to happen in 2020 with retail? Here’s what I have picked up so far:

The line between online and traditional stores is already blurred and this will continue as more online retailers open physical stores to better connect with customers. Trends like the resale market (second hand clothing) and rentals (of cars, clothing and who knows what else) will continue to increase rapidly. Retailers have to nail personalisation or be left behind by those who are doing it well.

And 2020 will see yet another push from customers who will expect amazing service experiences every time. Retailers that can do this consistently by creative story-telling and emotional connection will be the winners. The key to success when it comes to creating a store experience that shoppers want to return to again in again is grounded in engaged team members. Therefore investing in recruiting, inducting, training and coaching your team members is critical. Those retailers that continue to offer what they have always offered will not survive for long!

So retailers now more than ever have to stand out – stand for something and not just be part of the pack that relies on discounting to attract customers, too many retailers are playing that card. They have to get the in-store experience, both physically (layout, fixtures, technology) and the emotionally (service experience) right every single time, so consistency is key.

It’s going to be a tough year, but those retailers who are willing to invest in their stores and people will survive and thrive.

Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Ultimate Retail Sales Experience” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.