Retailers Worldwide Face Communication Challenges and Opportunities

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RetailersRetailers have it tough seven days a week.  They are being driven to extinction by on-line sales, as I wrote about several months ago.

In some places, they are bringing their perilous survival upon themselves with bad customer experiences.  In other instances, it is being forced upon them.

Here in the United States, for as long as I can remember, it’s been a foregone conclusion that the retail world works nights, weekends and holidays – when most of their shoppers are NOT working.  There are a few exceptions here and there.

In Poland, there is legislation pending that would ban shopping on Sunday. There is a long list of exceptions which will create numerous business and communication opportunities.

Mariusz Pleban, president of Multi Communications, our Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) partner in Warsaw, had this to say about it:

“First, let’s take the example of shopping online and distribution of goods on Sundays which is not to be banned due to the European Union regulations protecting e-commerce. Some business models will have to adjust to the fast, same day or same hour delivery. This will require effective management systems and information campaigns targeting customers and preparing them for the new models of behavior.

On the contrary, the same example of exception can create more tensions within the organization and require internal communication based on the companies values management.  The new bill will require some HR communication talents to manage the different opinions of employees on the new regulations. Many people will complain as they will still have to work on Sundays and some will do the same because they will not be able to have additional income from not working that day.”

In Hungary, there was a Sunday shopping ban that even prohibited home delivery before the unpopular law was rescinded after 13 months.

Gábor Jelinek, a partner with Goodwill Communications, our PRGN partner in Budapest, noted:

“While in effect, there were some exceptions to the overall ban, creating new business and communications opportunities.  The ban was lifted for large retailers (with over 400 square meters of total retail and storage space) on five Sundays per year, of which four were on the Sundays preceding Christmas, and one was up to the retailers’ choice when they decided to keep shops open. This latter part offered retailers a chance to advertise their individual Sunday openings and individual sales promotions for the Sundays they were open. It was a very visible way of differentiating themselves from competition.

Also, the prohibition exempted small retailers, mostly family-owned stores which were allowed to stay open on condition that an owner or family member was attending the store, not an employee.  The Hungarian media reported about such retailers rejoicing that they finally had Sundays off, while previously they couldn’t afford to close their shops on Sundays because the competition would be open and poach their clients.”

Sheena Campbell, president of SCR Communications & Public Relations, our PRGN partner in Barcelona, Spain, said:

“There are pretty strict rules for retailers in Spain and they very rarely are able to open on Sundays during the year. This is mainly because big retailers find it easy to do this, but all those little shops, some of which are still family run find this much more difficult because of the staffing and costs.  To make it fair, the government limits opening on Sundays.

As far as PR is concerned it means you can do an event for journalists at lunch time, however, inviting journalists in a group is becoming ever more difficult probably due to the fact that there is so much pressure on journalists to compete that they now want to meet individually with those launching products or services.”

A little closer to home, in one of the world’s largest cities, Mexico City, it’s all about weekend shopping. Jaspar Eyears, CEO of Another Company, our PRGN partner in Mexico City, commented:

“Sunday shopping here is huge. In a city that is so congested and retail is predominantly limited to malls, there is only Saturday and Sunday to be able to shop.  It is a key part of retail communications, especially in social media, to activate consumers to purchase over the entire weekend.”

Go ahead.  Shop till you drop, in whatever part of the world you live.

Scott Hanson
Scott Hanson
President Scott is president of HMA Public Relations and a founding member of the Public Relations Global Network. He’s a Phoenix native, husband, father of two and a fan of all sports and a participant in some. Check out Scott's full bio

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