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  • Writer's pictureSandeep Juneja

Lessons from Retail Turnarounds: How Small Retailers Can Stand Out and Succeed

In today's rapidly changing retail landscape, small retailers often struggle to keep up with the competition. However, by studying the success of larger retailers who have achieved a turnaround after repositioning themselves, small retailers can learn valuable lessons and deploy some of the same strategies to improve their own businesses.

One of the key strategies that successful retailers use to reposition themselves is to focus on differentiation. By identifying a unique value proposition that sets them apart from their competitors, retailers can attract and retain customers who are looking for something different. For example, Harvey Norman has differentiated itself by focusing on design and style, while IT World positioned itself as a trusted advisor in consumer electronics. Small retailers can also benefit from focusing on differentiation by identifying a niche market or unique product offering that sets them apart.

Another important tactic for successful retail repositioning is to focus on the customer experience. Today's consumers have high expectations when it comes to the shopping experience, and retailers who can deliver a seamless, personalised experience are more likely to succeed. Large retailers international like Target and Best Buy have invested heavily in improving their online and in-store experiences, and small retailers can benefit from doing the same. This might include investing in technology like mobile POS systems (Square is a great option for small businesses) or offering personalised recommendations based on customer data.

Post Covid, I would say it is critical to embrace digital transformation. Retailers who have successfully repositioned themselves have embraced digital transformation to meet the changing needs of customers. This might include investing in e-commerce capabilities, offering buy-online-pick-up-in-store options, or implementing social media strategies. Small retailers can benefit by making it easier for customers to shop online, leveraging social media to reach new customers, and using data analytics to gain insights into customer behaviour.

The forth area of strategic interest I would map out would be to consider potential partnerships and collaborations. Successful retailers have leveraged partnerships and collaborations to expand their offerings and reach new customers. For example, Target partnered with designer brands like Missoni and Lilly Pulitzer to offer exclusive collections, while Best Buy partnered with Amazon to sell Amazon devices in-store. Small retailers can also benefit from collaborations with other businesses, whether it's partnering with local artists to offer unique products or teaming up with other businesses to offer package deals or promotions.

Finally, successful retailers who have undergone a repositioning effort often focus on building brand awareness and loyalty. By creating a consistent, recognisable brand image and investing in marketing and advertising, retailers can build a loyal customer base that will continue to support them over time. Small retailers can also benefit from mimicking this and from investing in creating social media content that is meaningful and engaging, offering a loyalty discount, building a customer database and really having personal insights can make a significant difference, and trying to get some local publicity.

Small retailers can learn a lot from the success stories of larger retailers who have undergone successful repositioning efforts. By focusing on differentiation, improving the customer experience, and investing in branding and marketing, small retailers can improve their own businesses and compete more effectively in the retail landscape. By studying the tactics of successful retailers and adapting them to their own businesses, small retailers can achieve long-term success and thrive in an increasingly competitive market by being unique and offering a highly personalised shopping experience.

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