Strong brands can escape the discounting spiral


I despair at the thought that 54% of women say money-off vouchers are the thing that makes shopping special for them (MW 17 March).
With consumer confidence eroded by recession and consumer behaviour transformed by the online experience, surely retailers should focus on creating a shopping experience they can control?

You need to look no further for proof than those that have fared best over the last few years.Wal-Mart, Selfridges and Marks & Spencer all have a solid and distinctive brand strategy underpinning their actions, which in turn has helped them, not just maintain, but build value in difficult market and trading conditions.

A strong retail brand is a pre-requisite for retail success. As the strategic embodiment of what a business stands for and why its customers should care enough to spend their time and money with it, the brand is the key that unlocks a great shopping experience.

Consumers want value and not just in a monetary sense, but from experiences with relevance and meaning. All of which means that only those retailers able to clearly differentiate and precisely articulate their relevance and communicate it via a branded retail experience will secure, attention, sales and ultimately loyalty.

Adopting a brand-led view of retailing to create a unique and compelling shopping experience has to be a better starting point than this seemingly never-ending price spiral.

Lucy Unger
Managing director Europe and Russia, Fitch

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