Promotions in the Recession's Wake

The recession the world has just been through is not the first nor last but its severity and length makes its lasting impact very different from most others. Every recession forces consumers to change or suspend behaviour, normally reverting once the worst is past. This time a more permanent change has been ingrained in behaviour and choice, as consumers have become conditioned to seek out value and discounting has become part of their DNA. 

There is in fact a precedent in the American crash of the 1930s, where the change in consumer behaviour was so dramatic that it took a generation to re-adjust back. But no matter how deep or long any recession may be, fundamental consumer aspirations eventually rise to the surface again, as they are now. Austerity may have forced many to cut non-essentials, but throughout the recession the premium and luxury sectors (from LVMH to M&S food) continued to perform strongly, demonstrating that shoppers never lose that desire to aspire.

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The Evolution of Retailing - Anywhere and Everywhere

“It’s not the strongest or smartest that survive but those most responsive to change”, said Charles Darwin, and never has that been more true than in retailing. During the past 5 years, while so many businesses focused on mere survival, the explosion of technology has transformed the world of retail, while social media has changed consumer relationships. Many have sounded the death knell of retail, as high street shops close, but retail is far from dead, it’s just changing. Had this surge in technology come at a different economic time the pace of change in retail might have been different, but ultimately the direction would be the same. 

Mobile at the heart of everything

At the heart of this change is mobile technology, the smart phone in particular, resulting in the store and the customer being everywhere, anywhere and at any time. Critical for every brand and business is to fully understand the implications and opportunities of this and to stay close as it develops, as developments will be fast. The challenge and opportunity now is to be a shop or brand in every consumer’s pocket. Ultimately this means that if an item is in stock anywhere in the business it should be available to everyone everywhere.

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