A guide to building a replicable successful retail strategy

‘Clever’ is defined as quick to understand, learn, and devise or apply ideas; whilst innovation can be seen as that ‘light bulb moment’ - the application of information, imagination, and initiative.

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It is arguable whether these businesses we mention, had ‘light bulb moments per se. But they are certainly clever - and not just in the beginning; they continue to refresh and rejuvenate ideas over their retail lifetime.

These businesses have been smart and tactical, assessing the market – whilst bringing in other clever people as they’ve grown – resulting in a resilient and relentless business.

A good idea poorly delivered, versus a good idea cleverly delivered, will beat a good innovation poorly delivered every time. When we look at the history and deployment of these great retail brands we do see some very simple and similar characteristics to their success:

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VISION: An original owners or influencers vision with regard for, but not paralysed by, risk. This was never a strategy about build a shop and see how it goes. Every single decision is taken against channel outcomes. [They are] ultimately built to sell, with no great reliance on any one individual or individuals per se, but, building the clock as distinct from telling the time.

MARKETING: Unwavering resilience in bringing the offer to market. They don’t build and invest on a fad as such, rather they see the trend and therefore opportunity.

PRODUCTS: that arrive have to fit within the DNA and earn their place, and in doing so, invariably replace rather than add to another product.

THE KEY: Simplicity rather than complexity; this is key building a network as distinct from a shop.

TARGETED OFFER: they know their target market with alacrity, and they don’t stray even when times get tough. They don’t try to be all things to all people. [They are] as much about the customer that they exclude as the one they do include.

BRANDING: They are consistently strong believers in brand attributes, and build brands that are clever, powerful and meaningful (relevant).

PRODUCTS AND POPS: Product range, its width and depth, using colour blocking, planograms. Each store expresses a well-orchestrated and planned campaign that replicates across the network.

GREAT SYSTEMS AND PROCESSES: systemising the business model in every single instance from supply channel, product characteristics to shop fitting, employment processes to compliance, rewards.

ATTENTION TO FASTIDIOUS DETAIL: the product placement is never by accident.

SHOPS: don’t open as such, rather that the network channel expands and replicates.

THE REAL VALUE: in these businesses is their ability to segment into other offerings using their skill sets, and knowledge. For example: the brand Cotton On segmenting into Typo.

TIMING: simply the moons were aligned for their arrival (consider the role of social media as an accelerant to their growth as an example of timing).

  Whilst innovation will always remain a buzz word that many retailers strive for, never underestimate the power of a clever and replicable retail strategy, that no matter what your size or category, will result in a sustainable ‘fit’ business model.