What’s your big idea? The transformative power of understanding what your retail business is for.

What is your retail business used for? Can you answer this question in one sentence? If not, you have a problem.

What would someone who works at your tills, in the warehouse, in customer service say if you asked them this question? If it’s anything other than your answer, that’s a problem too.

A retail business needs to have a clear and unambiguous understanding of their big idea – the human story behind which was sold. Big Idea can motivate employees, retain customers and increase your profits. It can become a collective call, a unifying force and a business into a success story.
Was it a big idea?

Big Idea is behind almost every major success story in modern retail. It’s the foundation they’re built on. And it’s a really simple concept.

Big Idea is an understanding of what a retailer is there for.

It’s not „mission“ or „retail purpose“ or marketing strategy or company slogan (although Big Idea goes into all of that). All of these things can change over time, but Big Idea rarely does.

Big Idea is the human story behind your company .

Big Idea is a single phrase that describes what your customers will really buy when they shop with you.
20 great examples of ideas

Successful retailers have big ideas that are so clear that we can articulate them all without thinking. Here are 20 Great Modern Big Ideas That Have Underpinned Retailer’s Success.

Ebay auctions of everything, everyone.

IKEA – Democratizing Access to Great Design.

BrewDog – Make people as passionate about craft beer as we are.

Bloom & Wild – Help people show they care.

Deliveroo – Help people enjoy great local restaurant food at home.

Halfords – Use our knowledge and experience to help people ride bikes more.

Walmart – Every item in the store is offered at the lowest possible price.

Aldi – Simple presentation of the prepared range at the best possible price without compromising on quality.

Costco Warehouse – Offer retail and employee groups a limited range of quantities in great depth.

Joules – Give families who love the country practical clothing with a stylish touch.

Peleton – Use technology to bring the boutique gym experience to our homes.

Net-a-Porter – Sell luxury fashion online with the editorial presentation of a style magazine.

Subway – Make sandwiches fresh to order.

Boohoo Give women access to the latest fashion trends at great prices.

Apple Store – Show people how Apple can make their lives better.

Hotel Chocolat – getting people excited about good chocolate.

Foot Locker – Offer sneaker lovers the best sneakers at the best prices.

Lush – Engage customers and reduce waste like having bathroom products tried before they buy.

Screwfix – Be the easiest, fastest way for crafters to shop for home improvement .

Why does it matter?

Clarifying your idea sends a wave of great impact through your company.

It will automatically generate your mission and sales purpose as they both work to make your big idea a reality
It makes it easier to manage investments and the most effective parts of your business as Big Idea tells you what is important and what is not.

It will help you find the best way to reward your customers for choosing to shop with you

Big idea and friction vs. reward

In this era of ultimate customer choice and retailers, offer their customers what they want or risk losing them to the competition. To retain customers, vendors need to reduce friction on how they make it easy to buy from them and increase rewards on how they make it amazing to buy from them.

Knowing your big idea will help you fill in the rewards side of this equation in detail because you will understand what customers care about when they shop with you. And that helps you find ways to increase the reward you give your customers for choosing you.

Knowing the human context of your existence enables you to create products, experiences, and formats that offer rewards that customers respond to.

What to do with your big idea

Once you have your big idea defined, you need to align your business so that all aspects are working towards it. This can mean adjustments to staff training, messaging, marketing, product line, store layout, signage, and more. The changes can be tiny adjustments or major strategic decisions.

When everyone in your company knows your big idea, follow suit, authenticity and passion. Your employees do not write lines from the employee handbook, but speak from the heart. When that happens, you have something special on your hand.

How do you define big idea ?

What are you selling This may seem like a simple question, but the answer isn’t the product on your shelves or the service you offer. They are just the tools that help you deliver what you really sell: the emotions behind these products.

Boohoo doesn’t sell clothes; it sells the feel-good factor of a new Saturday night outfit. Deliveroo does not sell a food delivery service; it sells the convenience of indulging in a restaurant-quality meal at home. Bloom & Wild does not sell flowers; You’re selling the ability to show someone you care.

How do your customers feel about the things that their purchase unlocks for them?

The question is not „How do customers feel about our products?“ Customers don’t feel anything about a dress or a delivery driver or a bunch of delphiniums. But they feel something about what the purchase unlocks for them; Self-confidence; Comfort; Communication.

This question is not an easy one. Dealers are trained to think product , product, product. We think about moving products, pricing products, merchandising product, and selling products. It’s hard to break that conditioning and think beyond the product, what a customer is really buying when they shop with you.

Defining your big idea starts with understanding the emotional context behind a customer’s purchase decision. You have to get to the point of what you are delivering to your customers.

7 questions to help you identify your big idea

  • What do your customers want to achieve when they spend money with you?
  • What problems do your customers solve with your products or services?
  • What common emotional trends do you find?
  • How does your product improve people’s lives or make them happier?
  • What are your competitors‘ big ideas and how do they differ from yours?
  • How does your product or service bind customers?
  • How would you summarize in one sentence what you are really selling?

YOU are trying to write a single sentence to answer that single question – what are you for?

Von writer