Himanshu Pal says that Dixons' customer-led refocus should concern smaller firms

Kantar Retail: ‘Indies need to worry about Dixons again’

Kantar Retail has warned independent retailers that they should be wary of Dixons Retail’s resurgence in the market.

Himanshu Pal, director of retail insights at Kantar Retail, presented a discussion on ‘Why you should worry about Dixons again’ to retailers and resellers attending this year’s PCR Boot Camp.

"Our current retailing environment resembles a perfect storm," Pal told attendees.

"What we are witnessing in our retail environment is a convergence. Consumers, categories, channels, customers – they are all undergoing transformation."

Pal said that Dixons had learnt from its past mistakes to "ride the storm", refocusing its service on a shopper-led approach as consumers begin to demand more from their shopping experiences.

"Shoppers are becoming value-orientated and technology-dependent – rather than technology aware," Pal explained, citing the use of smartphones in-store to ‘showroom’ and check prices online.

"Dixons are combatting showrooming by ‘webrooming’," he continued, as an example of how the retailer had adapted for survival in the changing retail market.

"They have embraced the multi-channel capability environment, putting the shopper first in all they do and delivering on real value," Pal added.

"Multi-channel is now a necessity rather than a differentiator [for retailers]."

Pal also highlighted Dixons’ recent shopper-led redesign as a critical factor in the firm’s resurgence.

"Dixons have put consumers at the forefront," he said, saying that smaller firms should follow suit – or risk losing business.

"Real value is still about price, but it is also now about the right offer and service in the store," he explained.

"Retailers have forgotten about the elements other than price [that contribute to the shopping experience] – saving people time, serving requirements, saving time.

"You cannot maintain a price war with the main retailers online, so your focus should be on service and serving customers," he advised independent firms, suggesting to learn from Dixons’ embracing of technology-focused retailing.

"Cater to a digitally dependent shopper. Serve a new age of shoppers. Connect on social media, on the move using smartphone scanners. Fulfil requirements," he continued.

"Dixons is a threat because it has the skills and abilities to survive the storm.

"It has a shopper-led offer, it has learnt from its past mistakes, it understands who its shoppers are, why they shop, where they shop and how they shop," he concluded, urging retailers to take note – or risk drowning.

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