While Arcadia continues its store opening programme around the world, the increase in sales online is prompting a downsizing and upgrade to its store!.
Sir Philip Green, founder and chief executive of Arcadia Group, told delegates at the World Retail Congress in Paris : “There are so many channels that people get bombarded. How many shops we need and what they look like is a challenge. People’s shopping habits are changing…we’re over-shopped.”
Stating that his 2,400 stores in the UK is too many. “We’ve an opportunity to downsize and we need to re-shape the model:. We’ll take three out and put two back in – probably bigger. We want to have the best representation [of our brands] in towns. And there is no option but to invest in and upgrade our bricks and mortar.” This reinforces the opinion of me and many of my colleagues that Stores are the vital ingredient in a successful multichannel strategy.
Sir Phillip continued; citing the group’s overseas expansion as the ideal model for multi-channel representation. The company is online in 100 countries and this is being complemented by the opening of strategically placed flagship stores. He finished with the thought that the key to successful retailing despite the explosion in channels it remains creativity and uniqueness of product that is the most important element for success. Stores will need to adopt and change, they’ll need to cater for all the different type of shoppers: browsers, click and collectors, experience seekers, and retail junkies.
I would say product is king and it’ll remain the main reason why consumers will engage and ultimately shop with a brand. Though, it’s important to appreciate their journey and it’s multiple touch points. Ensuring consistency of experience, service and choice are delivered throughout.
That’s where technology will help with the key deliverable: e-commerce not only online but in stores, loyalty programmes and experience enabling technologies. That will all combine to give your customers the experience and service level they are needing and requiring.