What can the royal wedding teach retailers?
We know that retailers are struggling. The pressure of internet shopping, increasing rent prices and decreased consumer confidence following Brexit combine to make it a difficult time to be a retailer. But there is help. We take a look at the imminent royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to demonstrate.
Responsive vs Anticipatory
One way that retailers have lost out on potential sales is by missing key trends and events. Of course, stores will plan for Christmas, for Easter, for Halloween and such like, but they have not always been agile enough to react to more adhoc events. By anticipating world or country events, trends, or even unexpected weather changes, retailers can plan by following a simple three-step system to maximise sales opportunities. We use the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to show us how this can be done.
This is the planning stage. For the fixed events such as Christmas, retailers already have established planning processes in place. In fact, retailers will usually plan for these events six months in advance. To plan for more adhoc events is obviously more difficult, retailers don’t unfortunately have a crystal ball. But it is possible to anticipate likely events and plan in expectation. For example, within minutes of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement, the Emma Bridgewater pottery brand announced a £20 commemorative mug had gone in to production.
Whatever the event, during the planning stages time should be taken to ensure consistency of signage throughout the store. Without good quality signage shoppers will pass the products by without realising they have missed anything. Remember, most purchasing for these types of events are impulse purchases. Retailers must seek to inspire shoppers and to encourage them to buy. Does anyone actually need a commemorative plate or tea towel? No. But co-site the two within a dedicated, well signed shop floor area and you’ll find shoppers picking up both items to buy.
The supply chain must be agile. However well retailers anticipate and plan for events, if they cannot get the goods on to the shelves or keep up with consumer demands, the planning will be to waste. Retailers need visibility across their stores, they need to know what is selling. Out-of-stock products is a great frustration to shoppers and is a lost sale to the retailer.
The ‘Meghan effect’ may test even the best supply chains – £20,000 worth of glasses were sold in 24 hours by British eyewear brand Finlay & Co after Meghan was photographed wearing a pair, similarly sales of black Hunter wellies shot up by 18 percent globally due to her choice of footwear.
The timing of the royal wedding in amongst the UK bank holidays and, fortuitously, some sunshine, brings perfect conditions for consumer spending. Will UK retailers be ready to react? With the wedding bringing an estimated £561m in retail sales up for grabs, let’s hope so.