For most independent retailers, the threat of the Big Guy, the advancement of all things digital, and the rapidly changing customer demands, are a real concern. Many face an unknown future as more and more independent high-street stores close their doors almost overnight. But, for Marzena, a Talmix independent retail consultant, the future prospects for the independent business are not to be feared, but rather embraced – all through the simple help of technology.
We speak to her about her career in retail, her delivered success in profit, her insight into the retail industry and her suggestions on how to get your business ready for the future of work.
From Start to Turnover Increase – all 54% of it!
“I have started my career in retail and over the course of a few years, built my way up from an entry-level sales assistant, through to concession manager, and over the 2 year period, increased turnover for Selfridges concession by 54%,” she tells me. From the moment she stepped foot into the retail world, Marzena was destined to achieve great things. Having started her career with Selfridges, she was soon sent to their flagship store in Harrods where Marzena’s role included driving sales, buying collections, projecting the requirements of products, leading teams of people to deliver exemplary customer services and it is no wonder that in 2009, she, and her team, were awarded the highly coveted Guest Shopping Excellence award, and a personal recognition for excellent service. Marzena was well on her way to transforming the retail industry, one strategy at a time.
With a career that included working for the top brands in the most exclusive of shopping destinations, Marzena soon built up in-depth understanding of different retail operating models, different clientele demands and spending habits, as well as advanced her experience in operational, sales and marketing, human resources, and public relations areas of the business. She developed a passion for understanding how people shop, and what their purchase decision-making process is. And it was because of all of this, that Marzena decided to move into the independent consulting field, to deliver her own insight and experience, to help others grow and become the best at what they do.
The fast-approaching train of retail change
“Retail is changing rapidly, in general. Customers are becoming more demanding, and niche in what they expect,” she says, and shares a few thoughts with us.
“Tech innovation is the business of today. Many companies have the opinion that standalone stores will disappear in the future, and that our entire purchase experience will be online only. I don’t necessarily agree. We will always be driven by experience. Yes, for the sake of convenience, people will shop online, but we when we are looking for an experience, we will still continue to visit the brick and mortar store,” she adds. “The Digital revolution is upon us – but it’s not something we, as retailers, need to be afraid of. We should rather use it as inspiration. There’s so much available to us to create a genuinely exciting customer experience in our own stores. Whether some choose to invest in mobile commerce to expand their offering, implement new payment technologies, or whether they choose to look at a more broader, cross-platform product offering – technology is there to help us, not hinder us,” she says.
“Retail is changing from OmniChannel to OmniExperience: customers and consumers need to be able to shop seamlessly, and move smoothly from one platform to another, from online to offline, from offline to social media, from social media to mobile-based. Data mining is becoming your bottom line – as you develop profiles for your consumers and customers, understanding what they buy, how they buy, when they buy, their age, gender, interests, distastes.
Currently, when we are shopping online, customer profiles are already being created – and we are being fed with suggestions of additional products to purchase, or suggestions of things we may like. But what’s coming is we will be able to personalise and create an exceptional in-store experience or capture new customers, by using in-store engagement technologies. For example, your customer may be in a particular aisle of your shop, and you want to showcase something within that aisle that may be relevant or of interest to them,” she says.
It’s not about closing stores. It’s about advancing them with Technology.
Marzena shares her projections about the retail future with us. “Stores are already on the path to becoming more interactive and engaging with their customers – in-store. We’re already seeing how some retailers are doing this by introducing interactive changing-room mirrors where the customer has a selection of ways to engage with staff – whether they require a different size of the item of clothing they’re trying on, or whether they need additional assistance,” she tells us. “You’ll be able to walk into a shop, grab what you need, and simply walk out again – and the technology behind the scenes, and on your mobile phone, automatically charges you for what you have taken out of the store. Stores are tailoring their service to their customers, to be able to direct them to merchandise that may interest them, and deliver information about the products that may be important to them,” she adds.
Why you’d want to work with Marzena
It’s evident, when you speak to Marzena, that she is driven by 1 thing: To help her clients solve problems. She has always been driven by challenges, and how to overcome them. Marzena takes the time to understand exactly how her client’s business works, and what’s important to them. She takes time to understand their plans for growth, current and anticipated challenges, she analyses the competition and market and helps them to develop and implement the strategy that will see them grow. Marzena achieved an MBA from Kingston University, as well as her MA in Management & Marketing, Operations and Development of Enterprises. For a fresh perspective, an honest approach to retail success, Marzena is a consultant that you cannot afford not having on your side.
If you are ready to face your own retail future, and need help getting there, then you need someone like Marzena. So, get in touch with us today to help you get started.
About the Author
Katy is an independent marketing consultant and founded Fresh Brew Marketing out of her love for the cuppa. A seasoned marketer, Katy writes for several global publications and provides outsourced marketing services to businesses throughout the UK. She is a keen geocacher and rates running around in city centres dressed in Christmas lights as one of her most successful Social Media campaigns to date.More Content by Katy Roberts