Why Thinking Small Is the Key to Succeeding in Today’s Tough Retail Climate

Aéropostale
An Aéropostale storefront.
Courtesy image.

Even with Walmart.com and Amazon.com engulfing the retail space, there’s still room to make your mark and create a lasting business, according to the CEO of Scaling Retail Syama Meagher. Speaking at Magic market week in Las Vegas on Monday, Meagher stressed the importance of social media in connecting with consumers and creating very specific brand messaging. “The big brands are dying because they try to be everything to everyone,” she said, adding,  “Be and think like a small company, even if you are a big company.”

She urged the audience of industry leaders and entrepreneurs to create a specific voice for your brand, even going so far as to targeting shoppers with the language they use in different regions of the country.  “We need to think about being part of the conversation,” she said.

Building a fashion brand or retailer that will stand the test of time means creating a loyal following. “It’s not enough to sell a product at the right price point for a customer,” she noted.  “Consumers are looking to things that speak to them, not to everyone else.”

Meagher cited the eyewear company Warby Parker as a success story. The brand promised to give a pair of glasses to someone in need when you purchased a pair. “Warby Parker launched online and had a very clear and specific value proposition. They had a bus that traveled around the country and created an experiential engagement. It was tied directly to their social media,” she said. Apparel company Aeropostale, for example, has engaged consumers successfully through mobile marketing.

Investing in a mobile device marketing budget, having a budget to experiment with different types of marketing, and being open to changes in social media and shopping trends will help retailers survive and even thrive in uncertain times, she said.  “You can’t forgo what is happening in this moment and what is changing.”