Working in retail for nearly sixteen years, I have seen many changes within the retail industry, from implementing new technology and building customer engagement to creating business strategies centered around company goals and employee growth. Every one of these strategies, and more, is essential to not only keeping businesses afloat but also helping businesses evolve. If you are the kind of person who is constantly reading the news, then you have read an article or two on the current trends that are reshaping the retail space and what the future may look like for big-box retailers as well as small businesses.
Retail news has been one of the biggest topics for many news websites and social media platforms since the pandemic began in March of 2020. Some retailers were making headlines for filing bankruptcy or closing their doors permanently creating a loss of jobs for millions of people. Other retail companies have made headlines by pulling their resources and resorting to online shopping for most, if not all, of their sales. Much of retail technology, such as in-store fulfillments and curbside pickup, has been a business lifesaver for many retailers and has created a new shopping experience for the consumer. Bloggers and journalists have written columns describing how retail businesses are acclimating to the “new norm” and creating new innovative ways to keep consumers happy and their doors open. When writing and editing retail news, there are a few things you want to establish when presenting an informative and interesting piece.
When it comes to retail technology, you want to write about three things. First, find and understand the benefits of the technology you’re writing about. Apps such as Quadpay (what is now being called the “new layaway plan”) make it easier for the customer to purchase their items in four small installments. Because of this technology, and others like it, retailers can build customer loyalty and customers can buy the items they want without having to tetter between if they can afford it or not. Next, explain why retailers may want to invest in new technology. This information can be beneficial to retailers looking to build customer engagement, increase traffic (the number of customers entering the store or purchasing online), and improve sales revenue. Lastly, find out where these new technologies are being held and tested. Retail websites, like Retail Week, host conferences every year where retailers can learn about the latest retail technology coming out.
Researching for accurate retail revenue and statistics is an important piece when it comes to writing retail articles. Numbers hold value and tend to pique a reader’s curiosity. Retail journalists find this data useful when trying to research what methods are increasing company goals and building up the retail industry. Before the pandemic hit, shopping at a physical store was a profitable way to make sales for retailers compared to online shopping. Customers could come into the store and feel or even try-on merchandise before purchasing them, but during the shutdown last year ordering online was the only way to shop for anything. Now that online shopping has helped to increase retail revenue immensely, retailers are using this data to research different ways they can build on this data.
Finally, as a retail journalist, you want to include retail companies and get their thoughts on the current retail space. Retail makes the world go round, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF) “the retail industry employs 32 million Americans, making it the largest private sector-employer in the economy.” If you want the inside scoop on how retailers are keeping up with the ever-changing retail business, conduct an interview with a CEO, a manager, or even an associate. In the news, you always hear about the retail industry as a whole, but it’s equally important to speak with the employees (from entry-level to corporate employee) to get the bigger picture on how the retail industry is growing from the inside out. Touching on topics like how employees view their work environments, how managers are leading their teams during the pandemic, or how higher-ups are incorporating diversity and inclusion programs into the company policy. All of these topics should be considered and included when writing about the retail industry.
Writing or editing a retail article is no different from any other news article or blog. The key is to read and research as much material as possible so you can deliver an informative writing piece to the readers who may be interested in knowing what’s going on with their favorite retail brands. Most of the retail journalists I follow work at retail newsgroups such as Retail Week and Retail Dive. They keep up with the current retail trends, host IG live interviews with CEOs to understand how their companies are thriving, and report the latest retail news. As long as retail continues to evolve and adapt, retail journalists will always have a pen and paper on hand.
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