Articles

Mediocrity Is Killing Retail.

Lets get one thing straight. There is no shortage of money out there. At a household level in Australia we are at an all time high in earnings and affluence. We have also never been more bored as consumers. We seem to live in an endless ‘Groundhog Day’ experience. As in the movie with Bill Murray where he wakes up every morning to relive the same day all over again.

Political correctness, the state of politics, modern life and even the media landscape have all become so mind-numbingly tedious and formulaic that they are contriving to turn our world into shades of grey. (If only I meant the mummy porn series, but alas no). Even the most optimistic and joyful souls struggle to keep the smiles on their faces consistently.

Once upon a time we accepted a few areas of our lives were where we paid our dues for the joy we got from the majority of our lives. Discretionary spending at retail was a highlight among the fun things we did in life – either as a shared experience or on our own. It was a mood enhancing experience as much as a rational purchase.

But when life feels overwhelmingly grey, little dabs of colour won’t give enough of a lift to justify the effort or the cost. The drab nature of our modern lives is all down to self-inflicted pain.

Consumers – more than ever – are craving escape and joy.

Retailers have become obsessed with price and costs. In an era of over supply and relatively stable demand, consumers are flooded with an endless stream of grey sameness. Even cheap price is no longer a differentiator. And online makes it even worse as it adds access to billions of alternative purveyors of more of the same. As a result we have denigrated into mediocrity.

In a sea of grey it is easier than ever to standout.

Apple retail stores are not the greatest retail experiences in human history yet their stores sell more than $100,000 per square metre per year all over the world. Why?

The simple truth about modern consumers is that they ache for escape. They crave colour. They yearn to feel something special. Subtlety won’t do it. A little taste is not enough. They want to binge on something that makes them feel alive. Apple gets that and delivers to it. Louis Vuitton and many others do as well.

Great retail experiences can and do make customers feel special every time that touch them.

It takes one all-powerful resource to break free from mediocrity. The passion to do so.

If you harness that, you will unlock the endless rainbow that consumers lust after. And you know what will await you at the end of that rainbow?