Managing Lead, Digital Main Street
Mediaplanet sat down with retail thought leader Darryl Julott to get his views on the key retail trends going forward.
Tell us a bit about your backstory?
I have taken an unusual path between my education and work experience (I was even a garbage man for a few years in Toronto). Since I have always worked in the non-profit space and small business has always been in my blood, Digital Main Street (DMS) was the perfect opportunity to combine both passions and continue to help small businesses when they needed it the most.
The pandemic moved things around for many businesses. What is here to stay? How has the full conscious shift in consumer behaviour affected shopping local?
Seeing a conscious shift in how consumers embrace shopping local is one positive of the last few years and I do believe it is really here to stay. People realize the importance of these small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in their community. I also think businesses have realized the absolute need to embrace digital transformation.
Do you see a future where brick and mortar and e-commerce create a singular in-store experience?
We are already seeing it, and regardless of size, the most successful brands are creating a seamless experience for their customers. This integration will be essential for retailers as they continue to fight for consumer spending and foot traffic. Innovation will be driven out of this as well, as brands continue to look for ways to differentiate and connect with their customers.
With digitization taking over, in your opinion, what are ways owners can keep their information and transactions secure? Is it by leveraging payment partners? POS system?
It’s more important now than ever. Mastercard notes that 50 percent of all SMBs have experienced a cyberattack. Most are not prepared to deal with it or the potential fallout. Ensuring you have a proper POS system in place is a great start, as well as ensuring you understand the risks from a cybersecurity standpoint and what products can provide the best protection for your business.
How has your work with Digital Main Street and Retail Insider created your vision of the future of retail?
I believe I have a well-rounded view of the retail industry by examining the industry through the lens of both small and large retailers. DMS is helping SMBs prepare for the future, which is going to be critical as technologies that are already present in larger retail environments, such as augmented and virtual reality, and others, become more prominent and part of our day-to-day retail experiences.