Survival requires adaptation. Thriving in the ever-evolving consumer market requires both vision and preparation. For the past decade, retailers have been told that e-commerce is the future. We needed to buy and sell goods over the internet to survive. By heeding this advice, many retailers found themselves situated perfectly for the uncharted waters of the global pandemic and continued to sell product while their physical doors were closed. When battle tested, the e-commerce model proved to be true, but we need to continue adapting to meet future needs.
From today’s vantage point, moving retailers into the world of e-commerce might only be a down payment for the investments that need to be made to survive in the new digital era. Omnichannel shopping is the future to thriving in your business. The term “Endless Aisles” describes and provides in-store customers with the opportunity to order products that are not normally sold in your four-walled store locations. It is the integration of physical and virtual merchandise, allowing customers to select virtual goods for in-store purchases. Retailers now need to consider carrying products with “natural extensions” to your current offerings.
How is that possible? “How can I sell products I don’t have in the barn?” The answer is simply through technology and deeply mindful conversations. Providing personalized lifestyle advice from the local experts is truly the cornerstone of our retailers’ existence and their biggest competitive advantage. And while not all retailers have the consumer demographics or square footage to consider more brands, more products, and new categories, all stores can envision using technology (Kiosks, tablets, smartphones) and devices that that can offer other products in your store.
Entering new business verticals can be a frightening proposition. Questions arise: Do I have the training and expertise? Do I have public “permission” to extend into this category? The easiest answer and way to extend your business into adjacent verticals is to tie into your core competencies as a retailer. For example:
- Retailers selling major appliances might look at HVAC, furnaces, ductless mini-splits, heat pump water heaters, or even freestanding fireplaces.
- A dealer selling room air conditioners might want to consider portable or whole house air treatment: dehumidification, humidification, and purification.
- A dealer with many upscale kitchen appliances might want to consider decorative plumbing (sinks/faucets), countertops, cabinetry, cabinet hardware, remodeling services or even a design center and project management team.
- A natural extension in refrigeration would be commercial appliances, outdoor/indoor entertainment equipment. Whole house water filtration would be another extension.
- The next frontier might even include doors, windows, window covering/shading, decking, fencing, flooring and lighting.
Consumers still have unmet needs they want retailers to solve for them. The “wait and see” strategy rarely works in any business but is often employed. At Nationwide, we want to be part of this solution and help you prepare for what the future may hold. And that’s exactly why we are continually exploring avenues to expand your assortments, which in turn should expand your customer base.
Our goal is to enter these new verticals with turnkey solutions that don’t require much — both from a human capital and financial cost standpoint — on the part of our Members. Time is of the essence in your business, and we understand that sometimes it’s difficult to not only work in your business, but on your business as well. That’s why any new initiative from Nationwide will include complete go-to-market strategies, providing you with simple and effective ways to execute against these plans.
If you are interested in exploring opportunities in your business, please reach out to your New Business Development team (Mark Spear, email@example.com, or Derek Mattila, firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can work together on this endeavor.
Mark Spear is director of business development for Nationwide Marketing Group.