This article is part of Raydiant’s new Future of Retail series which interviews the world’s leading retail experts to better understand how the industry has evolved and most importantly, where it’s headed.
The following is from a recent interview with Credo Beauty CEO Dawn Dobras.
What personally excites you the most about the retail industry?
DD: Never a more dynamic time in retail and we see it every day at Credo Beauty. While there is so much focus on old retail going away, there is a huge upswing of shopping with younger dynamic brands, many of them with an underlying social mission of doing good business and doing good. There is less of a focus on cookie-cutter rollouts and focus on interesting, targeted retailers that fit in with their consumer neighborhoods.
What has been the most dramatic change you’ve seen in the industry over the past 3-5 years?
DD: If you haven’t changed, you are out of business. The downtrend is much more extreme and rapid now than it was 5 years ago. It used to be that you could keep a positive cash flow store, even if it was flat or negatively competing in the portfolio. Not anymore.
What are the top trends you see shaping brick and mortar retail in the next 3-5 years?
DD: Retail as a community. When you look at highly successful brands today, there is a greater meaning to the retail store—events, workshops, yoga classes, running groups, master classes, panel discussions—that bring customers into their brand experience in a bigger way. In many of these concepts—there is a belief that we have a responsibility to do better—from sustainability, to customer health, to giving back. Patagonia, of course, is our gold standard. Customers want to know that their dollars are supporting what they believe in.
What technology do you believe will have the biggest impact on the retail industry in the next 3-5?
DD: Anything that can help the human connection. At Credo Beauty, we work with Hero technologies, to allow our sales associates to handle all our online customer chats. This helps us amplify the best of our stores—our team and sales associates– to a broader audience across the country. We are always looking to see how we can amplify our team’s knowledge and bring it to the customer.
What’s the future of brick and mortar retail?
DD: It always starts and ends with the customer. Where does she live, shop, eat and play? How does she like to spend her time? How can you make her happy? How can you surprise and delight her? What makes her stop and think? Retailers that stay connected to their customers will always be around.