May 26, 2017

Could this be the new normal for traditional retailers?


Earlier this month it was reported that, The British Retail Consortium-KPMG retail sales monitor rose 5.6 per cent in April from the previous year.

This was the strongest result since April 2006; up from a 1 per cent decline last month and well ahead of expectations for a 0.5 per cent gain.

Looks great, doesn’t it? But look again. It seems that this strong performance is actually circumstantial rather than a true positive indicator of the market, since the late Easter holidays skewed the data.

Although the figures do show that consumers still seem to be willing to spend (and particularly online) as online revenues surged by 10.3% during April, with the combination of rising costs and slowing wage growth, conditions are in fact getting tougher.

Traditional retailers should perhaps look to companies such as graze and MADE who are part of a growing trend of challenger brands.

Typically these challengers:

  • Ooze agility and constantly innovate
  • Have an amazing ability to manage costs
  • Have strong data and make data led decisions
  • Demonstrate continued growth as a result of not being afraid to challenge the status quo of their market
  • Accept failure, learn quickly from it and move on. Failure is a cornerstone of their growth and success

But in the same breath, as a result of fast growth; communications, culture and reputation are often difficult to manage as some of these organisations have unique business models and push the boundaries when it comes to how they manage their staff and culture – just look at some of the recent employment issues that Deliveroo are facing for example.

So if traditional retailers were to adapt and become more like challenger brands then it will be the role of communicators to calculate and manage the risk and capitalise on the opportunities that this will bring.

Get in touch if you’d like to know more about our expertise working with challenger brands.