All over the shop

Mumbrella’s Retail Marketing Summit is a chance to look at the retail space from all angles. For an agency like Chello, it’s a place to get context for the current retail landscape and how the future is taking shape. There were so many incredible insights and stories at this year’s summit but these were three that I saw as opportunities to create and fortify brands as they navigate a rapidly changing area.

2019 is a good time to take a gap year for retailers

Take a break in 2019

David Rumbens presented Deloitte Access Economics’ forecasts for the future of retail. In 2019, more people are living within their means and, when taking the long view, are spending proportionately more on essentials like housing and transport.

That means tougher times for retail which has in more recent times made gains on a sheer willingness to spend – rather rise in wages. The softening of house prices has created uncertainty amongst consumers and CFOs, with the latter a barometer for how money will — or won’t — flow through the economy. Throw in an upcoming election and a global economy that shifts on the sentiment of a tweet, and 2019 is a good time to take a gap year for retailers.

Rather than be swept up in the negativity, use it as an opportunity to put together a strategy, develop partnerships and collaborations to take off in the upcoming year when Deloitte forecasts a lift in retail.

And it’s worth remembering that retail is still in a healthy place. In 2018, retail accounted for more than 10% of the Australian workforce. It’s expected that retail will grow marginally in the next five years. It’s not a huge amount of growth, but for a sector that occupies headlines with doom and gloom, it’s not actually shrinking at all. Retail has a future ahead, it just looks different to the traditional department store. As you’ve probably guessed, it’s moving online.

So if you’re laying low for 2019 it’s a really good time to understand and improve your online experience.

Transparency is becoming ordinary

Returning to the idea of the retail gap year, it’s to make a start on ethical and sustainability practices. When fast fashion retailers like H&M and Zara start making more of their green and humane credentials, there’s a shift underway. This isn’t a fad either, with Gen Z defined by their stronger sense of social and global responsibility there’s every reason to prepare for the next generation of consumers right now.

Look to the brands that have built themselves on or around fairness. Patagonia, Warby Parker and Who Gives a Crap? have made functional products a sign of personal principles and have deeply engaged customers for it. But even if these practices aren’t baked into your business, there’s an opportunity to be transparent if you completely trust the quality of your product. Take notes from McDonald’s Canadian campaign, Your Questions, which received 10 million interactions, increased the perception of their food quality and increased traffic in Canadian McDonald’s stores by 50%.

Small percentages have significance

Gen Z defined by their stronger sense of social and global responsibility

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