Retail centre owners (including the owners of QVM) seem to regard retail concepts as part of a simple evolvement that will take its natural course. CD’s have moved on and online music particularly through mobile phones has moved in.
But is this latest trend in retail – what has been described as a “tsunami” of retail decline – just a trend that will take its course or a “call to arms” for a whole new look at how we relate to customers. We need to be careful here because history is full of knee-jerk reactions that in hindsight missed the mark.
But let’s abandon clinical analysis for just a moment and express some gut reactions to today’s retailing dilemma. Surely this is more than just concept or category evolution. How can business be so flat at QVM just 8 days before Christmas? How can we have big crowd days that produce small crowd business?
Dennis Price has just written an excellent article in Inside Retailing in which he identifies food as the guide to what customers are embracing. We know that statistically food is on the rise. We have seen a proliferation of food outlets at QVM and even the humble food van is experiencing a dramatic rise into gourmet food categorisation in our own String Bean Alley. Customers are embracing variety, choice and innovation.
Dennis Price identifies some consumer behaviours that food taps into –
1.Consumers can (and want to) experience things on a multi-sensory level.
2.Consumers want to be involved in the (co-)creation of their products and experiences.
3.Consumers want personal (customised) outcomes.
4.Consumers appreciate the value of things that are unique, artisanal and special.