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Brookfield Properties-Retail-Retailvisory-Six steps to building a retail business, according to experts

Six steps to building a retail business, according to experts

Industry insiders reveal their recipe for success.

Heavy lies the crown, so they say. And no one knows that better than a wantrepreneur. Just ask Marcelo Tau, the COO at world-renowned luxury jewelry label David Yurman.

According to Tau, you need three key ingredients to win at retail: “When you have the right product, the quality, and you care about the customer — that’s what drives success.” Knowledge is power in a world where every dollar and decision matters. In the spirit of due diligence, we spoke with Tau and other industry titans to find their secret sauce to success. Here are six tried-and-true tips to build a retail business, according to experts.

  1. Tip #1: Make it personal

    Marcelo Tau, COO, David Yurman

    “Our focus is personalizing the customer experience, which starts online in many cases when the customer is browsing and looking for ideas,” Tau says. “Those customers then come into our stores and are met with a friendly brand ambassador who will talk to them. When you buy a high-value item, there is that whole experience of understanding the piece and its history. When I first started at David Yurman, I was surprised by the number of people who collect the pieces over time. That’s the reason there’s so much loyalty.”

  2. Tip #2: Lead with quality

    Janet Hayes, CEO, Crate & Barrel Holdings

    “There’s never been a more important time to get everything grounded in quality. We’ve branded this year as the year of quality, and we’re using all channels to talk to our customers about it. It’s changed the filter for us. Quality will be remembered long after the price is forgotten.”

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  1. Tip #3: Deliver a memorable in-store experience

    Rahul Malik, Managing Director, The Business of Fashion North America

    “When we talk about experiential retail, what we talk about often is something that’s customer-centric, something that’s digitally enabled, something that’s multisensory. But what I think we’re talking about is something that is emotional. My call to action is, as you think about the different initiatives that you’re prioritizing — are they helping you to deliver and create an emotional experience for the people you want to be targeting and reaching?”

  2. Tip #4: Commit to sustainability

    Giovanni Lepori, VP of Global Retail Development, Rothy’s

    “What we found at Rothy’s is that doing good for the planet is also good for business. By keeping plastic out of landfills and being able to recycle, at this point close to 150 million bottles of plastic, that’s what has helped us in getting to where we are today and to the billion-dollar valuation that we received a year ago. Rothy’s was built from the get-go as a sustainable brand.”

  3. Tip #5: Always be agile

    Bahram Akradi, Chairman & CEO, Life Time Inc.

    “Adaptation is sometimes revolutionary and sometimes evolutionary. Sometimes you are faced with something like COVID, where you have to pause and say, ‘How do I deal with this?’” Serving up a lesson in a business owner's ability to pivot quickly, Bahram Akradi, and the entire Life Time C-suite, decided to stop paying themselves so that they could continue to pay their entire staff and vendors. “We made the decision to protect Life Time’s brand and reputation, and that commitment made our team members more involved and more passionate. This year, we’re already breaking every record in the history of the company.”

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  1. Tip #6: Give back to your community

    Kendra Scott, Executive Chairwoman & CCO, Kendra Scott

    Kendra Scott, who founded her eponymous brand when she was a single mother, focuses her giving back efforts through the Kendra Scott Foundation, which to date has given more than $50 million to causes that support women and youth. “When I founded Kendra Scott, I wanted the philanthropy part of it to be how we would measure success,” she says. And that is what excites me and gets me jumping out of bed every morning to keep going.”

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