4 New Retail Business Ideas That Stand Out From the Competition

By Bob Phibbs

how to standout from competitionIf you're paying attention to the doom and gloom associated with retail, it might seem that the exuberance of online shopping - It’s SO easy -  has pushed the brick and mortar stores out to pasture.

That's just not the case.

The majority of customers still prefer in-store purchases for most types of products. And will for the foreseeable future.

While a number of high-profile retail chains have gone out of business including Bon-Ton, Toys R Us, and Claire’s, their downfall was debt more than lack of shoppers.

To succeed in 2018, you have to look for creative business ideas. You'll find many of them revolve around ways to reach customers where they are, to engage them in new ways, and to know them on an individual basis.

When it comes to driving sales, retailers shouldn’t be afraid to try innovative things. In Shanghai, Hema Supermarket recently added an adult section to their app. Now consumers can receive delivery of condoms, pregnancy tests, sex toys and more in 30 minutes or less.

It is easy to scoff at this new idea, but this retailer has tapped into a very basic human need and has raised expectations from consumers of short delivery of on-demand purchases.

Here are four new retail business ideas that offer you creative ways to cater to your customer base across channels and in real locations.

Be available where your customers are. Domino's Pizza is not a new business; they were established in 1960. But they are always looking at pushing the envelope to remain relevant and connected to their core customers. It used to be that restaurants were all about location. Domino’s latest business idea lets customers order to hotspots at places without an address.

Hotspots include outdoor parks and beaches even Central Park in New York City and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. As long as you are GPSable, you can get their pizza anywhere.

Take knowing your customer to the next level. Lolli & Pops, who bills themselves as an encyclopedia of the world’s finest candies and confections, is implementing facial-recognition programs in their stores. This allows their sales associates to see VIP shopper preferences and even allergy information so they can offer new creations and locate old favorites quickly.

Yes, it could have a bit of a creep factor, but it also cuts down on having to explain a lot of things each time.

Make shopping seamless across all channels. Everlane, an ethically sourced clothing company, lets customers see exactly how much the materials and labor cost. Now hey have integrated their brick and mortar and online stores using an integrated ID system.

Just like at the big box retailers, shoppers can return items purchased online in store; they can shop walletless and apply any existing credits to their purchase, whether online or in-person.

Remove guesswork and build a digital profile for shoppers. ModCloth started as an online fashion-design company offering clothing inspired by yesteryear.  At their new stores in Austin and San Francisco, shoppers work with an in-store, in-person stylist and have an introductory conversation which covers personal style, their wardrobe goals and budget. The stylist takes detailed measurements and gives a guided tour around the showroom to showcase the best styles and fits for the customer’s individual body type and needs.

The appointments themselves are free and there’s zero purchase obligation. This leaves the customer free to shop their omnichannel empire, confident that whatever they purchase, whether online or in-store, will fit.  This saves the customer in-store time and makes their online purchases doubt-free.

See also How Retail Store Of The Future Holds Keys For Retail Shopping Trends

In Sum

Why shoppers don't purchase isn't the same as why shoppers do purchase.  

When you start to look at the sales you are missing, you become curious about your shoppers’ motivations; you are focused on delivering in-person relationships and finding new ways to deliver your products. That’s how these four retailers show the way forward.

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