Retail Strategy By Any Other Name

Strategy is a word that gets used freely anymore, but it is rarely employed.  What people are talking about is a series of tactics that are strung together and because the people who own those tactics reports to a single person in an organization, it is called a strategy.  This is particularly true for retailers.  But there are exceptions and they stand out.

Look at Doc Marten’s.  They have a small retail presence, but their stores have become destinations for subcultures, people who were part of a subculture and are now looking for nostalgia, and people aspiring to appear somewhat on the fringe. Their digital presence is designed to push product online and in retailers to whom they sell, of course, but it also provides location-based incentives and the ability to post information about yourself (and your new shoes or boots) to the world.  The point is that they recognize there are a range of customers that buy in a range of venues. People buying for themselves and others.  Rather than addressing them in a way that segments according to channel, they use multiple touch points to drive the experience, enhance the brand and take advantage of a limited brick and mortar footprint.

The point is that the company recognizes that the context in which a person shops shapes the decision of whether or not to buy, be it today, tomorrow or next month.  It isn’t about immediacy and it isn’t about one division within the company. It is about a holistic understanding of both the organization and the customer — it is about the dialog and the partnership of which we are a part.


Published by gavinjohnston67

Take an ex-chef who’s now a full-fledge anthropologist and set him free to conduct qualitative research, ethnography, brand positioning, strategy and sociolinguistics studies and you have Gavin. He is committed to understand design and business problems by looking at them through an anthropological lens. He believes deeply in turning research findings into actionable results that provide solid business strategies and design ideas. It's not an insight until you do something with it. With over 18 years of experience in strategy, research, and communications, he has done research worldwide for a diverse set of clients within retail, legal, banking, automotive, telecommunications, health care and consumer products industries.

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