Recent trends toward smaller, more intimate retail stores suggest that the era of large-scale one-stop shopping is on the decline. As consumers grow more focused in their spending, stores are adapting by taking a more streamlined approach to their product offerings – hopefully in line with what their consumers want next. Some large retailers, like Cabellas, actually have small stores within their large stores to provide an intimate, focused shopping experience.
This brings up two issues: flexibility and brand identity. Flexibility allows a company to rapidly change product offerings in response to sales, and even change the layout of a brick and mortar store thanks to clever design innovations like cash registers mounted on movable counters, modular display systems, and one of my favorites: the highly mobile sales staff at the Apple Store.
Change is an essential ingredient in Continuous Improvement, and part of getting better is being prepared for (and being enthusiastic about) change. A flexible environment in a retail store is just one example; others include altering the layout of a manufacturing shop floor to better suit improved processes, or using temporary labor to satisfy a spike in consumer demand.
Who Are We?
Choosing to go smaller requires an intensive examination of brand identity – what products do you keep, which do you discontinue as you downsize, and how does the public perceive you based on these choices? Of course there is more to brand than just product lines, but there are some serious decisions to be made about which products to emphasize and which to discontinue.
The place to begin puzzling out the answers is the company’s vision. Who are you as a company, and where do you want to be next? Using the vision as a guideline, each company can make decisions that support their overarching business goals – and that keep them in tune with their customers’ ever-evolving needs.
© 2011 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved
Authors: Rick Pay, Paige McKinney