Waitrose show us the shape of retailing in the new economy.

Its happening far less frequently recently, because most organisations appear to have slithered into a state of cerebral hibernation, while they wait for someone else to fix the world, but every now and again I come across an initiative that prompts a fist-pump and a big “YESSSS!”.  This time Its Waitrose with the masterclass in how to trade in the post-recession, economy.

In fact I first proposed this strategy to another retailer about ten years ago and I’ve put it to others since.  I even, on one occasion, met with prospective channel owners and gained their commitment to the idea.  All my client had to do was sign on the line and they’d have secured a new revenue stream ahead of the game, but each time the retailers in question chickened out.  I have never understood why retailers have been so slow to take this obvious step.

I’ve always considered retailing to be the last bastion of the entrepreneur.  Its certainly the only sector where you can trial new ideas at minimal cost and get direct feedback from customers in a weekend, so with revenue and more importantly, profit, so illusive these days, retailers should be launching new initiatives on a daily basis.  If ever there was a time to pull those proposals out from the bottom draw and dust them off its now and this one is begging for an airing.  I’m just chuffed to bits that its a smart, switched-on business like Waitrose that’s going to take up the challenge.  I’ve always liked John Lewis partnership.  If ever an organisation had their internal marketing and brand building sorted its them and, as I keep saying, when your brand community is strong you can do anything.

Its been decades since a retail brand was only a name over a door and if ever there was a real brand community anywhere its going to be in the retail sector.  The relationships we have (Brandships) with retailers are like no other and its going to take an act of spectacular incompetence for Waitrose to fail in this venture.

Now, let’s see if they leverage all the opportunities and which of their “me-too” competitors will have the balls to take them on.  Yes, retailing is alive and well after all and living in Bracknell!  Game on!


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