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Retail Must Innovate to Survive

24th October 2013

Sir Stuart Rose, retail keynote speaker and former Chief Executive of Marks & Spencer, believes that retail must innovate in order to survive.

Sir Stuart insists that the future of the retail industry is not as daunting as it seems, he sees history repeating itself; small businesses were originally replaced by department stores and supermarkets. However the online versions of these small stores are now favoured by consumers and the big stores are struggling now more than ever.

Sir Stuart viewed the recession as a good thing for retail, as it meant that the UK was rid of “bloated businesses that could sit on their laurels and not adapt to change, nor prepare for what was to come next.” He states that “These companies folded and failed in this tough period and now they aren’t around, it leaves a more focused market for others to hone down and improve their focus on customer care and experience.”

There were also the companies who were not affected by the recession and Sir Stuart believes that they will suffer because they never had to adjust and improve; they have just stayed the same and will eventually be overtaken by the innovative companies keeping up with our societal changes.

Sir Stuart states that these days customers are everything and businesses must be able to offer their customers the ultimate retail experience. Sir Stuart insists that these companies should “craft a service and experience first and worry about the money later.”

Sir Stuart retail tips for the future are as follows:

  • Don’t slip into the same mind-set you had pre-recession
  • Innovate now, not when everybody else begins doing so
  • Bend over backwards to deliver the experience your customers want – it’s no longer in your ballpark how to decide what to offer them
  • Find that golden ground between old and young customers
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