Consumer spending is stable in Developed countries, and rising in Emerging Markets like China, India, and Brazil.

In many countries, retail represents around 10 percent of a consumer’s income.  That spending occurs in supermarkets, hypermarkets, department stores, malls, exclusive brand outlets, and online portals.

Stiff competition among brands, favorably positioned local players, and large cross-border corporations makes success in this resilient and lucrative industry extremely challenging. To succeed requires not only a strong presence among specific target consumers but also a conscious adherence to the best practices.

Retail Industry Best Practices that can provide growth are as follows:

1) Effective Brand Management

Given the horde of retailers vying for the attention of consumers, establishing a unique personality for a business is the best way of distinguishing it from competitors. Having a brand that favorably stands out is already half the battle won.

One way for retailers to send messages that resonate with customers is to convey their corporate philosophy in ways that are easily understood by consumers. Messaging, storytelling, branding, corporate culture and values have the potential to define a brand and distinguish it from others.

2) Commitment to Community Development & Sustainability

Given the clear preference of advanced markets for brands and companies that consistently adopt sustainable practices, the list of tomorrow’s leading retailers will be composed only of businesses with demonstrated commitment to environmental protection. Any business that carries a tinge of environmental neglect will be punished by a consumer base that is increasingly becoming aware of (or are already suffering from) its negative impact.

Corporate social responsibility, Community Development and Human Resources can help Retail Companies achieve these objectives. The type of foundations, charities, or advocacies that a company proactively supports help form the company’s profile among its customers. Businesses should focus on those that share a strong affinity with their core values. Employees have the opportunity to be trained, nurtured and deployed not only to perform their designated tasks but also to visibly exemplify the company’s core values.

3) Comprehensive Security and Cybersecurity

It is not uncommon for physical retail outlets to encounter walk-ins who just intend to steal, vandalize, or harm facilities, staff, and other customers. Where appropriate for example monitoring systems could be deployed. In addition, the incidence of digital- or internet-related crimes are increasing and having a reliable Cybersecurity to wall out hackers is extremely important. Already, some of the largest hackings and massive consumer identity breaches have focused on Retail companies and their Credit Card products.

4) Multi-Channel strategy

Today’s retail landscape is rapidly evolving with the adoption of new technologies, processes, and approaches. Retail companies are focused on Omnichannel and aligning messaging across Stores, Mobile Technology, Apps and Social Media.  To remain meaningful and relevant, retailers deploy their unified messaging not only in traditional channels, but also in social media channels and the mobile environment.