Retail Lowdown
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Retail Renaissance: Tapping into Extended Business Models

Elizabeth Lafontaine
Chief Retail Analyst, Retail Leader Pro
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(Download a PDF version of this month's report at the bottom of the article.)


Let's Set the Scene...

The retail industry at its core has long been built on a very simple business model: the buying and selling of goods to consumers. This seems easy enough, although many of us that work inside and outside of the industry recognize the intricacies that affect retailers’ daily operations — many of which are behind the curtain from shoppers. 

The 21st century has added additional layers of complexities to doing business, and the retail industry has adapted in order to meet those challenges (as many other sectors have as well). Changing consumer behavior and enhanced technological advancements together created a new frontier for retailers and brands. On one hand, this new frontier provides seemingly limitless opportunities for growth and expansion beyond the core business model of being a retailer. On the other hand, this new era has fragmented the industry, created more complicated avenues of doing business and provided endless distractions for consumer attention.

Retailers have quickly realized that in order to thrive and survive, buying and selling goods to consumers, even in multiple channels, no longer constructs loyalty and brand relevance with shoppers.

Some retailers dipped their toes into production with the rise of private-label brands, but for many that was the extent of their diversification. During the past decade, the retail industry, across all sectors, transformed into a web of services, products and offerings to satisfy any consumer desire at any time of day or night. But in dissecting the brand and product extensions of retailers, it becomes difficult to discern where these businesses truly begin and end. Some retailers no longer resemble the long-held definition of a “retailer.” And the ultimate question becomes, how do these additions help to build loyalty and brand recognition in a saturated market?

Retailers are now complex providers of logistics, media, entertainment, community and, sometimes, products.

By uncovering the most popular extensions and advancements in retail, we can begin to connect the dots and see how the consumer remains the ultimate retail North Star.

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