The Business of Retail Is Going to Be Brutal in 2008

Last week Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke went to Capitol Hill and gave a guarded assessment of the economy. He forecast 'sluggish growth' for the next several months. This means a more competitive market for the nation's retailers, as shoppers hold back from making discretionary purchases -- buying things they don't really need -- in favor of spending their money only for practical, needs-based purchases.

The pain of reduced discretionary spending is already being felt in the luxury sector where American luxury consumers cut their spending on luxury goods and services more than 20 percent from the first half of 2007 to the second, according to the latest survey of affluent consumer spending by Unity Marketing. (Click here for more information)

Danziger's new book Shopping helps retailers be at the top of their game

'This year more than ever retailers need to be at the top of their game,' says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of Shopping: Why We Love It and How Retailers Can Create the Ultimate Customer Experience.

'With shoppers super-cautious about their spending, retailers need to give them a reason to come shopping -- but shopping alone can't be the reason. They need to draw them into the store by offering an experience that makes shopping there fun, engaging and entertaining. That is the key for retailers to survive a slow market and what my book Shopping is all about.'

Research into the mind of the shopper has shown that two factors are pivotal when it comes to getting people to spend more money when they shop:

- Increase the amount of time spent in the store; and

- Increase the shopper's interaction in the store with the merchandise and the staff.

Danziger says, 'In research for my new book Shopping, I discovered seven factors -- what I call the Pop Equation --that extraordinary stores share that makes a special shopping experience for their customers. My book studies how different retailers have used each of those seven factors in the Pop Equation to 'make their shop pop.' Retailers can follow these ideas and strategies in order to get their customers to spend more time in their store and increase their level of interaction in the store. And that will mean more sales, more profits and more success.'