Retailer roots = retail routes

business, idea, lightbulbIt is curious, if not bizarre, to observe the dichotomy of advisors, gurus and commentators, offering contradictory advice with convoluted solutions to a metamorphosing retail industry.

The challenge to the current transformation is not technological advancement, nor is it because the industry is changing that which it has always done; but instead on how it aligns with an increasingly informed and capricious public.

Customers’ expectations now focus on:

  • The experience before product. Where the purchase is proportional to the quality of the entertainment provided.
  • Channel over the location. Where the decision of online, in-store or pickup are dependant on ease-of-use and convenience.
  • Information ahead of the brand. Where the ability to investigate and collate influences patronage.

Today’s workforce applies similar principles:

  • Lifestyle before career. Where habitat and community take precedence over sacrifice, mobility and personal flexibility.
  • Inclusion over loyalty. Where attitude and culture are pertinent and in tune with the prevailing tenure and participative leadership.
  • Sustainability ahead of reward. Where prospective employees relate to employers who strive toward the non-exploitation of human, animal and natural resource.

salt_of_the_earth_colorpgPerhaps, there needs to be less emphasis on the theoretical and labyrinthine remedies of a self-invested fringe contingent who cannot and do not appreciate the intricacies of a respective business. Nor can they hope to decipher the competencies or acknowledge the potential contained within a seasoned team.

Rather invest the time with the people in the know – the salt of the earth – for they impart the truth and who identify applicable solutions at will. Unlike the lofty generalised speculations of self-professed experts, their very future depends upon it.

Walk the shop floors and listen to those in perpetual synergy with the customer. Spend valuable time in the engine rooms where space, volume and discipline transform logistics into a saleable product.

Glean vital orientation from the administrator so you are able to differentiate meaningful compliance from laborious bureaucracy. While never dismissing the invaluable insights of service crews who clean, repair and install, for therein lay the consequence of doing business.

Equipped with factuality and the defining nuances of the organisation, muse the machinations of the external virtuoso against the penchant of your customer to pilot the company upward. The future will take care of itself.

Innovation is not the cohort of the elite but the compulsion of those encountering the mundane, impractical or unjust – empowered by the freedom to generate change.

Retail must always be about the people, for the people, by the people.

Dave Farrell is a retailer and writer with three decades of experience on three continents. He can be reached at Freelance Alliance NZ on


1 comment

  1. Jeanne posted on October 19, 2017

    Spot on Dave. Change is not always where you expect it.

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