Essential Retail

21 April 2015

If executed well, retailer partnerships can turn stores into hubs for multiple consumer services and experiences, and generate new forms of competitive advantage, argues Kurt Salmon manager Emma Gomez.

The problems of over-capacity and falling footfall have featured in much of the media coverage of recent retail partnerships such as Asda and Decathlon or Sainsbury's and Argos. It is true that by sharing store locations both parties can benefit from space that comes at a lower cost, but these initiatives also represent proactive moves to address the evolving expectations of consumers and the changing role of the physical store.

Omnichannel consumers are also omni-retail consumers, less loyal and more comfortable than ever shopping across brands and price points. This is most clearly demonstrated by online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay and those run by retailers such as Walmart, Tesco and Darty. Marketplaces are successful because they combine highly-developed functionality, including site navigation and streamlined payment processes, with the option to browse, compare and buy products from multiple brands and retailers from one website.

Transferring these concepts to the physical space requires retailers to re-imagine the role of the store. If executed well, partnerships can turn stores into hubs for multiple consumer services and experiences and – in doing so – generate new forms of competitive advantage.

Beyond products: finding the right service partners

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