Before the COVID pandemic took over so much of the world, in early 2020, the National Retail Federation held a conference. Entitled the NRF Vision Panel, this conference was designed to bring together panelists from the entrepreneurial and retail sectors with nearly 40,000 participants who wanted to learn from them. Among the panelists was Andrew Brooks, the founder and CEO of Sinclair Global. With his strong experience and high levels of success, Brooks had a lot to offer to conference attendees.
Andrew Brooks founded Sinclair in September 2020, as he saw the changes that COVID was bringing to the landscape of NYC. The city was changing, and so were the people who lived there and found themselves unable to engage in many of their previous activities. They started to look for new ways to experience life, and better ways to be comfortable. That led Brooks to offer a lifestyle brand that provided authentic streetwear, giving customers a new way to express themselves.
Big Retail Changes
As he joined the panel, Brooks discussed some of the biggest changes he’s seen in retail over the last five years, along with what he expects to see in the future. While COVID has changed many things about retail, one of the most notable changes may be in the level of authenticity customers are now looking for in their companies and their products. Sinclair’s Andrew Brooks notes that customers want to feel a connection with companies, and have an experience with their products. Without that, they’re starting to lose interest.
One of the ways companies get the word out about their products is through hiring influencers. But that’s not as easy as it might sound. Even the best influencers may not perform well in the public’s eye if they aren’t aligned with the brand they’re promoting. That’s something Andrew Brooks is very clear about when giving information to companies. He suggests that smaller influencers can potentially be better choices, if they really align with what the company and the brand are offering. That’s authentic.
Communication between companies and customers is a vital part of success for businesses, so a focus on that also matters. A lot of that can be greatly improved by technology. If companies aren’t keeping up with their competitors where technology is concerned, it’s very easy for them to start falling behind. They need to be sure they’re up-to-date on the best ways to reach their customers, as well as the best ways for their customers to reach them. The two-way communication customers are looking for is key.
Direct-to-consumer distribution, says Sinclair’s Andrew Brooks, is an area that’s going to continue to grow much larger than it already is. Customers like to be able to get what they want, sent right to their door, and just send it back if they don’t like it. It’s convenient, and it’s easy. Brooks predicts that this is an area where retail companies want to pay attention, so they don’t fall behind.