Successful retail business models can overcome a depressed market

Despite the ongoing doom and gloom on the High Street there have been some success stories.

They all illustrate a crucial point – that retail decline is not terminal, as long as businesses think innovatively.

Coffee Nation, which has recently been bought by Costa Coffee, achieved its success by cleverly positioning its machines in existing outlets, including Tesco Express, Texaco, Shell and Welcome Break, delivering fresh ground coffee from bean to cup. 

This machine with a back-up maintenance service and piggybacking into already well-known outlets kept costs to a minimum.

Peterborough-based Kiddicare is essentially an online store but with one larger than normal warehouse/store, where customers can browse then place their orders and organise delivery online at the in store booths. The company has recently been acquired by the Morrissons supermarket chain.

Similarly, an electrical goods supplier, in an Eastern European country with very limited infrastructure or internet access, positioned some of its electrical goods in village stores and them with internet access and terminals for customers to make orders and organise delivery to the shops for pick-up.

In my view these retail business models show that a new way of doing business is emerging where the retailer no longer needs their own premises but provides online access, and a nominal level of in-store stock or samples for consumers to see.

With a bit of thought and planning and a proper business model there is no reason why larger retail chains could not operate similar schemes to prosper as well as bringing some life back into village stores and Post Offices to help restore them as the viable, environmentally friendly community hubs they once were.

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