opinion | Retail: Does Growth Rhymes With Charity?

Why Talk About Charity in Commerce? Because retail must reinvent itself in the face of digital. This goes through the customer experience, the social connection, doing “good, beautiful and good” for your customer. Simple, right? Not so sure.

In France we lack commercial culture even though we have the most beautiful brands. Why ? Because throughout history, trade and sale have been perceived as an activity of brigands, even of “sold” ones. Only in the Middle Ages did the sale take on the rank of “trade” with the opening of roads and branches.

For a virtuous profession

After the war, it was marketing and advertising that had the honor of selling an industrial “product push” system. At a time when trade is ecologically more frugal, it is the experience that will make people come, buy and return. The commercial advantage of retail is not easy. If you think of his variations of “Bien, Beau, Bon”, his commercial execution, then you have a deposit for a virtuous bargain.

In Patagonia there is commercial charity: your fleeces are recycled for life. The commercial experience with the teams, among the fans of the brand is infinite, on earth as in your shop. This profession of faith is found in Nature & Découvertes from the very beginning: “learning, understanding and participating in nature” at the inauguration in 1995, which became a brand of mission to “offer concrete solutions (products and experiences) to all those who who want to change their way of life, for an ecology of the Earth, of the body and of the spirit “.

When we talk about “fine craftsmanship” in retail, we think of emblematic points of sale “like Roman palaces with bold facades”. Often the prerogative of luxury, whose places offer an experience of beauty, aesthetics with art on the walls, ambassadors that elevate the shopping experience to the rank of popular art, exhibitions of products and culture of the brand.

The relational sense at the center of the sale

Dior and Jaeger Lecoultre excel in this in-store and pop-up store art. In general, it remains to develop that of the human being in contact with the sale by the brand, and tomorrow to develop the raison d’être of a company with his teams. The values ​​and the levers of emotions can create this dimension.

What does “good deed” mean as a business philosophy? In practice, this amounts to putting a sense of relationship at the center of the sale, kindness in business, simply serving a customer and the need for her! This work must be transcribed in the field: sales solutions, values ​​but above all not processes. The best have their own “retail academy” or their own management ritual like Acuitis. But already the challenge of social selling, i.e. the fact of selling online with one’s customers, such as the BA1110D brand) and of live shopping, the fact of creating one’s own television shopping brand, are the challenges of what could be called a “new retail business”.

An approach away from green washing

In the end, few merchants have succeeded in this tour de force of a great commercial experience, well translated, in a moment of operational transition to omnichannel, where the store remains the epicenter of sales at 85%, acclaimed by generation Z. Benevolence as a corporate philosophy is not just choosing a mission under the Pacte law of 2021 which designates companies that by law give themselves a social or environmental purpose in addition to profit.

It is no longer green social washing but a path that is built with customers and collaborators, easier for new retailers such as Courbet who operates in high ethical and ecological jewelry with a relaxed approach, which successfully breaks the codes.

Benevolence – this overused word – could give way to benevolence in the retail trade. There is nothing better than trade to change society through its shares. The conclusion goes to François Lemarchand at Nature et Découvertes: “Create social bonds by doing business, and give in order to receive, because business is transformed”. Retail can play on experience and emotions to trade for charity!

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