We sat down with Bunmi Aliyu, RSF show director , to find out more about the current state of the retail industry and to discover what successful independent retailers are doing to embrace the trends and keep up to date with consumer needs.

How do you think Independent retailers are doing in 2020?
The current retail market isn’t doing as bad as the newspapers suggest. Independent retail stores are a lot more agile and able to adapt to change so there are more independent stores opening than closing. The more innovative independent retailers are really embracing online. I don’t necessarily mean with an e-commerce website but with amazing social media accounts. Consumers are doing research online to look for their favourite products and social media is a great way to become known to the consumer. Consumers don’t have a problem going in-store to buy products after seeing them on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

What trends do you see in the retail industry?
The main trend I have been seeing in the retail industry is experiential retail. Consumers are looking for experiences over anything else so retailers that are combining their retail offering with an exciting experience are reaping the benefits. Another trend that I think is evident in the retail industry is click and deliver. Consumers are using online and offline together to get an experience best suited to their busy lifestyle. Delivery options is only going to get more prominent as consumers get even busier and more impatient especially with the effect Covid-19 has had on how we shop.

How do you think technology has affected the industry?
Technology has definitely affected the industry but not necessarily for the worst. The way people shop has changed forever because of it but I don’t think a time will ever come when there is no longer a market for the physical store. Consumers like to research online and then go in-store and vice versa. Retailers that learn to embrace the two together are the ones that will prosper in the future.

Where do you see the future of Retail Malls in Nigeria?
In the future, individual malls will find their identity will become more than just a place for consumers to do their shopping. Recreational, health, school, work and commercialism will all come together to transform them into a destination. Consumers want all their needs in one place to avoid time wasting and to help make the most of their day. I also see retail stores holding a lot less stock. As click and collect and delivery option grows, I also see the shop becoming somewhat of a showroom where consumers can see the products they are buying in person and then get them delivered to their house. Stores will save a lot of money on holding stock and unwanted merchandise.

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