PIVOT | 5 Actions to Move Retailers Forward

Retail Done Right Podcast 6 Show Notes

PIVOT: 5 Actions to Move Retailers Forward


Welcome to Retail Done Right on Empathetic Machines

We’re swiftly moving into a new age of retail - the era of the Customer Channel – where Shoppers’ Rule. This requires retailers to be empathetic and supportive of their customers, in every way.

Let’s discuss 5 actions to move retailers forward - out of pandemic panic and towards the future.

Stores are reopening. We can see the light. Thank goodness. But are we beyond the pandemic?

According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, total U.S. retail sales posted double-digit growth in April. Retail sales (excluding automotive and gasoline) rose 23.3% year-over-year in April and were up 10.8% compared to April 2019. Online sales in April grew 19.9% compared to LY and 95.6% compared to 2019.

The Five Actions

Cristene Gonzalez-Wertz, William Thomas and I start with action #1.

1. Invest in ecommerce, or your digital infrastructure. Unify your systems to allow for a unified shopping experience.

The Customer Channel retail revolution continues. This is clearly where the investment is taking place. If your competitors are investing here, you should be considering it – and not just for the sake of investing.

· It’s about a seamless experience.

· It’s about the fact that retailers are expected to be present everywhere their customers are…

· It’s about online and offline experiences – not just transactions.

· It’s about shoppers seamlessly moving between different channels taking advantage of the benefits each offer yet enjoying a unified shopping experience.

· It’s about the Customer Channel. Shoppers rule…

2. Checkout

Reducing the friction to purchase… Once you are finished, you want to go… There are ways to make it easier for your customer without getting into a queue…

3. Personalization – make a real and relevant relationship with your customer

Retail differentiation has long been discussed. It’s possible to differentiate with certain kinds of experiences. Tailored experiences. Personalized experiences.

Personalization is about knowing the right answers, or making insightful, accurate assumptions. It shows a respect of my time and money. It shows you have been attentive. It shows that if I am interested in a dialogue, it will be rich and genuine

4. Experiences matter – more than ever

Creating an experience for your customer is key. I was recently speaking with an executive of a luxury brand, and she told me she’s not in the retail business as much as she is in the hospitality business. She’s not running a chain of luxury boutiques so much as she’s running a boutique hotel that caters to her customers and clients – from when to bring out the champagne to providing water for their dog to knowing the customer’s preferences…

There’s a changing relationship with the customer, which was changed by the pandemic. Now, as we moved out of the pandemic, there are different expectations and different levels of engagement.

5. UN SDGs (United Nation Sustainable Development Goals)

Two of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are discussed; making a living wage and the ability to get access to health insurance.

Retailers with a $15 minimum wage include Amazon, Chipotle, Costco, Wayfair and Starbucks.

Retail leaders on the healthcare front include Starbucks, Lowes, Costco, UPS, REI, Staples and Lands End.

Research & Links

MasterCard SpendingPulse data:

CB Insights published an in-depth report about the investment across the retail spectrum specifically about creating a seamless experience.

BNPL (Buy Now, Pay Later) Klarna partnerships with Macy’s, H&M,

Social Commerce

The role Social Media companies are playing… (SnapChat & augmented reality, Instagram and their Instagram Shop…)

Epsilon & GBH Insights survey:

McKinsey research on personalization:


Dick’s Sporting Goods

David Bowie is at the Brooklyn Museum

References relating to the discussion around UNSDGs include:


We see the light. We see the momentum. We see the beginnings of the new normal. It’s exciting – and relieving – to move beyond the pandemic. Focusing on – and implementing – these five actions can and will move you forward.

Now, let’s go shopping!

Jeff Fisher


I create shopping experiences, which are at the intersection of store design, visual merchandising, interactive technologies and in-store communications. Let me help you navigate through the changing nature of retail.

Please follow me on LinkedIn, visit my website and follow me on Instagram.

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