The Art & Science of Success: 20 Influential Pieces of Advice from Leading Retailer Experts
As committed retailers and entrepreneurs, you know that to start a business and grow it to be a profitable enterprise is not straightforward or quantifiable.
There is no magic formula you can anoint yourself with or express train you can embark on. Success is not a science or an art. It’s a mixture of both. As someone once said; where Science is the system of acquiring knowledge, Art is the application of knowledge.
With that in mind, we thought we would invite you to take an opportunity to learn from expert industry insiders who share the best advice they learned that inspired their professional life and success in business.
1. Own your place and potential
“Instil confidence and trigger opportunities by believing that there’s business out there. Someone’s going to get it, and it might as well be you”.
2. Don’t take your strengths too far or for granted
“Your greatest weakness is not a weakness you realise, but rather an unprotected strength. It’s your strength that you take too far or take for granted. The reason this is such a weakness is because of your giftedness in this area, you cannot only do great good, but great harm.”
3. Retail is entertainment
“People want to enjoy their shopping experiences, but how people are entertained has changed a lot in recent years, and to be an enjoyable experience, retailers need to understand what those changes mean to them and their Brands”.
4. Make the first impression count
“You only get one chance to make a good impression. That goes from your display windows to your store maintenance to your bathroom, fitting rooms, counters, lights and most importantly – who you let on your floor as your brand ambassador”.
5. Know who you are, and let that be your North Star
“Take the time to know who you are and create a filter from day one, and use it to guide your decisions. Let it guide your decisions on design, partnerships, and collaborations”.
6. Age is just a number
“No matter what, don’t let your age or lack of experience hold you back from working hard and trying your best to get to where you want to be”.
7. Value every relationship
“Treasure every relationship. This industry is based on trust and personal relationships, in a way that isn’t true of other industries”.
8. Put your customers first
“Walk a mile in your customer’s shoes”. It’s amazing how many retail businesses profess to put the customer first when in reality neither their organisational structure nor their staff empowerment is geared to achieve this”.
9. Strive to design the best future for yourself
Personally speaking, “Be endlessly curious to design the future you always imagined. If you dream it, with hard work, you will achieve it. Retail speaking, “The disruptive epicentre of retail was and always will be the consumer. Shopper focused leadership branding and immersive customer experiences are the future of retail.
10. Be smart about leveraging tech
“It doesn’t matter if your mission is to deliver outstanding customer service or amazing retail experiences or breakthrough concepts and designs. If you want to do it efficiently, consistently, and cost-effectively you have to be smart about leveraging technology”.
11. Just start, and let the process evolve as you go along
“Just get started, and that opportunity will find you. Put something out there and evolve it through a process of iteration with your customers”.
12. March to the beat of your own drum
“Life is too short to be trying to be what others want you to be. Find your passion and live that”.
13. Never underestimate your customers
“The ways and means people use to buy stuff may change, but the art of retailing itself, that of merchandising and curation, is as important as always”.
14. See things from your the customer’s perspective
“Always put yourself in the customer’s shoes and think about things from their perspective”.
15. Don’t underestimate the power of proper planning
“Doing the best you can is a stupid plan. You must have a strategy.”
16. Know thyself
“The most resonant reminder I have taken into retail and commerce is from William Shakespeare – ‘Above all, know thyself ‘ – a succinct reminder that self-awareness is a key catalyst for the many aspects of success in commerce.
17. Constant vigilance and creative are essential
“The retail business demands constant vigilance and creativity — and my sources are clear that, while it’s not for the faint of heart, it also represents an opportunity to make connections with people”.
18. Know that customers don’t recognise “channels”
“For today’s customers, there is no ‘online’ versus physical retail. The best retailers provide an end-to-end experience that is relevant, convenient, and efficient. The challenge for today’s retailers is that customers keep moving the goalposts. What was extraordinary service yesterday, is today’s minimum standard. It is critical to know your customers, how they shop, where they buy, and how they want to take delivery”.
19. Stay curious and be open-minded
“This is particularly important in the current retail environment where no one knows for certain how the future will pan out and therefore the need to try, test, think of new ways of doing things is even more vital than ever”.
20. Work smart, not hard
“There are so many ways to work smarter and deliver a better result in many cases without necessarily needing to work 95 hours a week. Better processes (with/without tech) make such a difference”.