New Rules of Retail

by Deepak Sharma on Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Oracle Retail has a new white paper on New Rules of Retail. These rules are derived from book by Jeff Jarvis, well-known author of What Would Google Do?, of what he calls Google Rules. The table below takes each of Jarvis’ Google Rules and applies them to retail industry examples to derive ten new rules of retail.

Retail has come full circle, local to global and now back to local as international retailers cater to individual preferences of their best customers. It’s a complex consumer market that spans borders, retail formats and media, and new rules of engagement apply. Jeff Jarvis’ book What Would Google Do? inspires ten guidelines that help retailers to thrive in today’s new consumer marketplace.

Google Rule

Industry Examples

New Retailer Rule

New Relationship Your worst customer is your friend; you best customer is your partner lets manufacturers respond to customer comments, and their EggXpert site lets customers help other customers.

1. Listen to customers. Convert the critics to fans and the fans to influencers.

New Architecture Join a network; be a platform

Tesco and BestBuy released APIs for their product catalogs so third-parties could create new applications.

2. Become a destination for information.

New Publicness Life is public, so is business

Zappos and WholeFoods founders are prolific tweeters/bloggers, sharing their opinions and connecting to customers. It’s not always pretty, but it’s genuine.

3. Be transparent. Share both your successes and failures with your customers.

New Society Elegant organization

Wet Seal helps customers assemble outfits and show them off to each other. Barnes & Noble has a community site that includes a bookclub.

4. Communities of your customers already exist, so help them organize better.

New Economy Mass market is dead; long live the mass of niches

lululemon found a niche for yoga inspired athletic wear. Threadless uses crowd-sourcing to design short-runs of T-shirts.

5. Serve small markets with niche products.

New Business Reality Decide what business you’re in

When Lowes realized catering to women brought the men along, their sales increased.

6. Customers want experiences to go with the products they buy.

New Attitude Trust the people and listen

In 2008, Starbucks launched MyStartbucksIdea to solicit ideas from their customers.

7. Use social networks as data points for making better merchandising decisions.

New Ethic Be honest and transparent; don’t be evil

Target is giving away reusable shopping bags for Earth Day. Kohl’s has outfitted 67 stores with solar arrays.

8. Being green earns customers’ respect and lowers costs too.

New Speed Life is live

H&M and Zara keep up with fashion trends.

9. Be prepared to pounce on you customers’ fickle interests.

New Imperatives Encourage, enable and protect innovation

1-800-Flowers was first to sell via Facebook and an early adopter of mobile commerce. The Sears Personal Shopper mobile app finds products based on a photo.

10. Give your staff permission to fail so innovation won’t be stifled.