Is there a place for specialist and everyday items in one place, wrapped in an intelligently designed store, providing entertainment for the deal weary shopper?
We love a deal when we shop, but we love the reveal as well. Shouldn’t stores give the shopper space to think about what they want, in an environment that encourages exploration? Shoppers have stacks of choice in where to buy their everyday items. Do they do it online or at that convenient, convenience store? Shouldn’t the High Street and grocery store evolve into something more special?
With the ownership change at House of Fraser and Debenhams at risk, have department stores reached the end of the line? My hunch is to say not, but like everything in retail, change is the only constant.
Ironically change is something that the industry has overlooked in the last 10 years. We relied on the power of consumer spending to increase store profits, fuelled by easy credit and underpinned by increasing house values. The result was we all forgot how to remain competitive. We all forgot how to innovate. We relied on incremental increases at the expense of experimentation and discovery. Has the world has forgotten how to change in the last 10 years.
What we are experiencing now is a sharp correction because we simply forgot how to innovate. Now the business model has changed so can we redefine who we are?
Our love of everything confectionary, snacking and BWS is our guilty pleasure. In this space there is some fabulous NPD and packaging innovation as craft beer becomes mainstream, traditional brands move towards craft and brand acquisition becomes the new habit.
On a recent trip to the Speciality Food exhibition at Olympia, it was fabulous to see the innovation on display. From obscure South American beans to niche confectionary all the exhibitors were thriving.
With companies like KP, Ferrero and Mars acquiring niche brands (driving their distribution) and reinventing themselves, it’s good to see the shopper has an increased choice. What we need now is a bit of in-store theatre, don’t we?