How making no compromise can help retail survive

A tailwind. An accelerator. A game-changer. However you think of the global pandemic, it has changed the lives of millions of people in a matter of weeks, and accelerated existing shifts in consumer behavior. One of them is the rise of bothism, or the desire of consumers to combine both ends of an equilibrium. Consumers want sustainability AND performance, the convenience of data (support) AND privacy, the attire of a global brand identity AND the ‘personal touch’ of local brands, tech support AND digital detox, ownership AND access to products and services…

In this blogpost, Heidi Turner, Senior Research Manager at InSites Consulting in Australia, explains how adopting a non-compromising ‘bothism’ mindset aids retail to survive and even thrive in challenging times.

Retail in Australia has been under pressure, with retail spending reaching a 28-year low in 2019, the bush fires adding more pressure, and the industry being rocked by multiple employee underpayment scandals. All of this even before COVID-19 hit our shores. Many retailers – which we all thought were ‘too big to fail’ – fell. The capabilities that unite those that survive and even thrive in these fickle circumstances are their focus on the consumer, understanding their unique needs, and providing a relevant solution without compromise.

Tech streetwear brand TO {BARWYN} AND BACK, for example, makes high-performance clothing from recycled materials without compromising on a distinctly alternative Melbournian style. Founder Gemma Baxter, an avid cyclist, found a hole in the market for functional yet fashionable clothing that bridges the gap between activewear and workwear. Her range offers smart functionality based on consumer-centric designs. Skirts and dresses can be toggle-tied to lift the hem when cycling – preventing them being caught in gears, wheels or chain. Integrated D-rings in clothing can be used to attach keys, wallet or mobile phone – avoiding uncomfortable, bulging pockets. Eyelets in jackets secure your earphone cord to stop it snagging at buttons, helmet straps or handlebars.

Her fabric specs read like something from a professional sports arena: moisture wicking, antimicrobial, water repellant, quick drying, hi-viz, reflective, UV resistant… the list goes on and on. All of this in addition to often being sourced locally and made from recycled materials. One of her fabrics is woven primarily from recycled plastic water bottles. And somehow, she manages to make them feel good on the skin too. TO {BARWYN} AND BACK is a fantastic example of how a savvy retailer can avoid any trade-off between performance and sustainability. It represents the best of both worlds, and consumers are lapping it up.

The secret of TO {BARWYN} AND BACK’s success thus lies in the fact that the founder and her team understand consumers’ unique needs, and provide a solution without compromises. The brand is ‘consumer-intuitive’.

Wish to know more about this concept? Download our latest digital bookzine Better Together: From consumer intelligence to consumer intuition.
From Consumer Intelligence to Consumer Intuition

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