Transformational Retail Roadmaps: Which Path to Choose
By Gail E. Amsterdam, Founder, CEO, and Chief Talent Curator, Amsterdam Associates
Another theme that kept jumping out at the 2023 Retail Big Show was transformational roadmaps. Transformational leadership, transformational brands, and transformational data analytic initiatives all captured the attention of attendees.
After attending the conference, Martin Urrutia Islas, LEGO’s Global Head Retail Experience, a company which operates over 800 stores located in 44 countries, inspired us.
As the company heads to their 100 year anniversary in ten years, LEGO claims it stands for the customer, the experience, and being nimble enough to shift and better its value proposition. Specifically, listening to shoppers and fans with their feedback offers the most important insight. The key message was to be agile and react fast.
Customers hold the roadmap
LEGO welcomes families, and Martin noted, it’s more than the transaction, it’s a social community space. For LEGO, digital doesn’t only make sense, the stores and online experience must be integrated. The Lego team makes sure they have unified wording, colors, and navigation between the stores and online so both experiences mirror and continue to delight their customers. The brand inspires shoppers and responds to what they say to engage everyone.
The store experience is all about the brand. Its demographic is not only kids, but adults who have been fans of LEGO since they were kids and still are customers. The company created the concept of LEGO legs for adults where people were speaking about different passion points to interest them. LEGO hears its customer’s requests and satisfies them by concentrating on the brand and product experience while introducing their customers’ ideas into their product mix.
Additionally, LEGO has launched shoppers’ ideas many times before. They successfully develop new products through LEGOS innovation process with Ideas.LEGO.com.
Islas advised the audience to avoid the temptation of cruise control. LEGO is an innovative company that values creativity. Its leadership team is always looking for new learnings and builds on something different. They relaunched a new format and continue to explore new locations to adapt their LEGO experience.
It’s a new world and generation of buyers who are very dynamic and LEGO welcomes them with storytelling. The company also values mindfulness and wellness. Which, it plans to incorporate these values into their brands and create products that support these practices. Some of the ideas that came to fruition were an Elvis Presley LEGO set and a flower LEGO set, etc.
For example, the company invested in gloves that enabled them to demonstrate products in the pandemic that were cool and not just the usual fare. They also learned how to smile through their masks with a happy face. Adjusting to the circumstances is critical to serving the tumultuous business climate and LEGO sets the expectations.
A sustainable strategy
Sustainability is just as treasured as customers’ feedback to the company. Management uses materials from the community where the stores are located to serve their value system of being a company that supports sustainability. They also switched from plastic to paper bags for shoppers. One other sustainable effort the company implemented was to repurpose its LEGO bricks and extend their lives with proper cleaning. While LEGO is a leader in the developing transitional roadmaps, it wasn’t the only one present at the conference.
“The store of the future is less about the store and more about the business model” panel was unpacked by Giorgio Prada, the President of Sunglass Hut N.A. and Roberto Funari who started as a manufacturer today and is the CEO, Alpargatas (Havaianas & Rothy’s).
Alpargatas has more than 500 stores and has a lifestyle connection with its customers, who it studies very closely, taking competitive advantage of. It. It provides for its customers’ needs. Consequently, Alpargatas saw them as shopping differently than ever before with omni-channel sales driving conversion.
Prada is part of a powerhouse of great brands and brand equity. As part of Essilor Luxottica, it has more than 150 eyewear brands, 18k stores worldwide, and 180k employees for 150 companies. The conglomerate concentrates on innovative thinking.
Prada shared that, “Inspiration leads to digital transformation in disruptive ways.” Sunglasshut NA has adopted an integration ecommerce platform that works directly with the stores from a digital perspective. The company saw a trend spike in purchasing luxury products. Instead, it chose to develop programs that involved purchasing more local store furniture and products at affordable costs. They avoided unnecessary transportation costs and time factors by using their local communities instead of long-distance, costly other solutions..
With 11k patents, Sunglasshut NA’s expertise and knowledge enables the company to do good for its customers, employees, and the planet. Resulting in a more sustainable footprint as well as social aspect, its continued ability to connect better with its customers through a strong DTC presence.
Funari invested in a DTC model to enhance its consumer insights. Haviana’s/Rothy’s built a center of excellence for stores and digital. From their findings, they saw that if more sales reps engaged directly with the consumer, it provided the most important competitive advantage to them.
As ambassadors of the brand, they staff and market their product merchandising portfolio to the shopper, thereby, substantially elevating its shoes’ desirability. The brand uses data and analytics to support its findings, but take direct consumer feedback very seriously if there are any impasses.
Consistency is key
Prada also stressed the consistency of the experience. His company has a high tourist shopper, so it requires associates to greet shoppers consistently with a model of the same approach within all its stores. This ensures human connection is always emphasized with its shoppers. By recruiting the correct talent, training them, and showing each associate how to connect on a human basis with their consumers, the company has a winning formula.
Engaging customers, whether in the stores or digitally, has to be closely integrated with both. The customer journey to engage audiences though is the most important criteria. Quality of the experience and conversion along with the personal connection with the customer is essential for the sale.
We will be releasing more pieces on innovations within the retail industry this year. Be sure to check out our recent article “Unstoppable Workplace Culture is Built on Authenticity” to gain more knowledge.