Retailers Urged to Innovate, Educate in Order to Survive

NEW YORK — Break the mold, create excitement and establish relationships to lure Millennials. That’s what it’s going to take to survive in this new world.
“We are confronted with a tsunami,” said Robin Lewis, founder and chief executive officer of The Robin Report, during a retail seminar at MRket and Project on Tuesday afternoon. “It will wipe out every Old World retailer who doesn’t fundamentally transform their business model.”
To compete with the online players and the off-price community, merchants must create “experiences” that speak to the young customer so their stores look cool and desirable. “You’re really in the entertainment business,” he said.
Tom Ott, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of men’s wear for Saks Fifth Avenue, agreed. Noting that today’s climate represents the largest change he’s seen in his two decades at the store, Ott said Saks is moving to appeal to the Millennial shopper, who will outnumber the Baby Boomers by 22 million people by 2030.
This reality impacts everything about shopping experience. Since 62 percent of Millennials respond to mobile offers, Saks is moving its efforts from print to digital advertising, he said, and counting on word-of-mouth to get its message out.
And while heritage brands will continue

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