Went to the fortune teller
Had my fortune read
I didn’t know what to tell her
I had a dizzy feeling in my head” –  Jagger/Richards

Of course by now we all realise that retail as we know it is changing structurally, and as I have been writing, the most fascinating juxtaposition is that much of what is new is old again – or perhaps the old never really went away.

Have you heard about the new technology that uses a series of interconnected technologies, travelling along the digital highway, to ascertain that wet weather is imminent?

It utilises an elaborate array of social media communities, communicating seamlessly to the exact targeted audience, built from an elaborately designed database, and maximised with the latest in customer navigation heat mapping in the physical store environment – all synergised with current consumer trends in wet weather behaviour and linked to retailer supply chain and planogram systems.

This amazing technology led a retailer to increase umbrella sales by more than 40 per cent on the same wet period prior.

Or in other words – put your umbrellas out the front of the shop, it’s about to rain.

I am of course taking the mickey. The point, I trust, is made that when all is said and done about the role of technology and its vital impact as both an enabler and catalyst to changes in consumer behaviour and resultant retailer behaviour, one truth remains central to being a successful retailer. No technology in the world will change a poor retailer to a good retailer. It can, however, significantly enhance a good to great retailer.

Look into the detail of many retailers and you see out of stocks running wild, conversion rates of less than 25 per cent, and absenteeism in excess of 20 per cent. These are not new issues to retailers and well outside the immediate role of technology.

The words of my first real mentor said to me  were “be brilliant today on the basics son, if you want to be in business tomorrow.”

It’s no secret that the world’s best retailers in any category have an attention to detail that surpasses their competitors and a focused eye where others cannot see and who simply follow the axiom about the right product at the right price, in the right place.

Would the average customer at department stores prefer an expanded online range, an enhanced mobile app with augmented reality, or do they simply want higher levels of customer service?

Ikea is one retailer that seems to truly understand both the role of the basics in retail and technology as a catalyst, with the release of its new “bookbook” launch campaign. You can see the video on YouTube here.

I hope that you enjoy the video and that it reinforces that to be a “fit” retailer, the basics form the foundation of our enterprise.

Happy ‘Fit’ Retailing

Brian Walker

Brian Walker is CEO of Retail Doctor Group. If you want to make your business “business fit” contact Brian on (02) 9460 2882 or brian@retaildoctor.com.au.

First published on insideretail.com.au November 2014