LONDON: Journey planning has never been more important or more complex for retailers who will have to deconstruct conventions and identify new rituals to succeed, a leading figure has argued.

Writing in Admap, Aaron Shields, strategy leader/Europe for brand communications consultancy Fitch, outlined how the advent of online retailing had led to new developments in the bricks-and-mortar retail world

The old one-size-fits-all model has been replaced by three broad formats. A hub-and-spoke model uses rich experiences to drive consideration for the brand at busy 'hub' stores and pick up volume in more pragmatic 'spoke' stores in the periphery.

Destination shopping is being supplemented by ‘near and often', as everyone from grocers to banks look for a retail mix that will put their products and services in a place that will be accessed more often.

The third model Shields described as 'online ranging', where chain stores of all types attempt to make their entire online catalogue visible in a practical and compelling way.

All of these changes have come about as shoppers are able to choose to shop in any way they want, and retailers have taken up the challenge, experimenting with new ways to deliver products and experiences.

Consumers themselves are playing an increasingly important role in these developments, whether it's writing reviews on customer forums or renting out rooms on Air BNB.

"The key to understanding opportunities for challenging conventions lies in the ability to reshape the constellation of stakeholders in a retail journey to create new forms of value,"" said Shields.

One way of looking at this is to unpick the relational ties in a network, including customers and employees and anyone else who can add value, as determined by customer needs.

Shields argued that both bricks and clicks retailers needed "a common vision to shape a unique customer experience, with digital interactions that stitch all the touchpoints into a seamless whole".

But the complexity involved – a shift in one area of the matrix would require adjustments elsewhere – meant a requirement for a master plan that could build long-term difference for the brand.

Successful companies, he said, would "thrive by creating standout experiences that fit with the way people want to shop".

Data sourced from Warc