Making Inconsistent Consistent.

Ryan’s Theory of Retail-tivity – No-one aspires to the lifestyle they currently lead.

Without this fundamental driver of behaviour eighty percent of retail would evaporate. What their ‘holy-grail’ lifestyle is, very few people can actually visualise or articulate and so it drives their search for newness. The perceived potential to discover new-ness or ‘new news’ stimulates the shopper’s search and promotes urgency of action.

Newness is about inconsistency.

The heart of the success of a retailer like Zara is its inconsistency. Their shopper’s behaviour is driven by two things – firstly, the stimulation of knowing that every time they visit the store the range is different so there is always a sense of discovery. And secondly, if they see something they like, they must buy it there and then or their very real fear is that they will miss out on it altogether.

Inconsistency is the core of their magnetic appeal.

In the “strange but true” vernacular of retail truisms, to sustain inconsistency in execution terms relies on consistency – for both shoppers and the business itself. Shoppers must consistently believe you are inconsistent and that this is the reason they are compelled to visit you regularly and often with an open-ness to buying what they can discover. The business must be able to consistently deliver inconsistency.

Everything – outside the inconsistent product range and its theatrical support – must be simplified and kept reliable and dependable. Un-productive time and energy should not be wasted by the shopper or the business having to work out or re-invent things which do not support the primary driver of discovery of new-ness and the facilitation of urgency of action.

The way you manage product; the way you communicate; the way you showcase; the way the shopper searches; and every other aspect of the mix needs to be simple, straightforward and efficient.

The time and energy freed up by the efficiency that repetition, familiarity and ease create is what is spent realising the opportunity of discovering and acquiring new news. At a deep emotional level – correctly executed – this can be a more powerful motivational force than price off.

As Zara will tell you, the processes and systems that create their efficiency is what facilitates their ability to support the primary driver of their customer appeal. It is only when they make the occasional stuff up on product quantities that they ever need to resort to price off to drive sales. Even price off becomes inconsistent and part of the discovery.

Being consistent in every thing you do is not the recipe for success. Likewise being inconsistent in every thing you do will send you broke. More frequent new-ness drives more frequent foot traffic and trains shoppers to buy now. If you make inconsistency consistent you win.