Navigating Natural & Organic: Lindsay Carroll, National Retail Association
The natural and organic industry is continuously growing and shifting, with new trends, regulations, products and practices being introduced into market everyday. How does one keep on top of it all? Naturally Good has you covered, as we speak to industry professionals and experts on the hottest topics and trends, business practices and solutions, and what’s happening in the natural and organic industry.
In her capacity as Deputy CEO of the National Retail Association, Lindsay dedicates her time to providing tailored support to retailers of all sizes across the nation. She leads advocacy on behalf of the National Retail Association’s members and is the director of the NRA’s incorporated legal practice. With her extensive background in the retail sector, Lindsay spoke to us about the changing landscape of retail, what it means for the future of retail, as well as her advice to retailers navigating the unprecedented affect of the recent year’s events.
How has the retail industry change over recent months?
Retail has experienced a turbulent time since the pandemic hit our shores. There’s certainly been an increase in online shopping due to lockdown restrictions. This has resulted in many traditional retailers, such as supermarkets, bolstering their digital services to ensure that they can keep pace with this changing demand moving forward.
Shoppers are also becoming more price sensitive and value conscience, which is not unusual during an economic downturn. We’ve also seen some businesses completely revamp the services they offer to keep revenue ticking over. For instance, restaurants are pivoting to selling stock directly to customers to survive, while some high-end distillers have begun selling sanitiser rather than rum to cash in on market demand.
With the rapid shift to e-commerce and doing business online for retailers, how do you think this will affect the retail sector moving forward into the future?
Online retail is certainly on the rise and this was the case even pre-COVID. However, that certainly doesn’t mean that we’re about to see the demise of traditional retail stores. For many businesses, the future will be having both a bricks & mortar outlet as well as an e-commerce sales avenue. Put another way, online retail will complement physical stores rather than demolish them.
What of these changes that we’ve seen do you think will be here to stay? What do you think this means for brick-and-mortar stores and retailers?
The continued shift to online shopping will certainly occur. As more consumers adopt the habit of shopping behind a laptop or iPhone they will form an appreciation for the ease and convenience that it offers.
However, as mentioned in the above answer, this does not mean the extinction of physical stores. Many consumers enjoy the associated experiences that occur with shopping. For example, the opportunity to spend time with friends, experience interactive services offered by retailers or taking the kids to see Santa are all things that can’t be done online.
What’s your advice to retailers navigating these unprecedented times?
Pay close attention to any changes you’ve noticed in consumer behaviour. This will differ depending on factors such as what type of retailer you are, where you’re located and what restrictions you’ve had placed on your business, but it’s important to know what impact the pandemic has had on your shoppers and adjust accordingly.
Also, explore ways in which you can be innovative with the services and the products you offer. In times like this there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all and diversifying your business could be what helps you survive. Don’t feel the need to simply follow the masses and replicate what others are doing. Having a point of difference at a time like this is a genuine advantage.
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