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  • Writer's pictureJames Mcgregor

The trouble with Retail

Firstly, is there any trouble, well that depends on the type of product you sell and the channels which you sell it on. It would be unfair to say that for every CFO walking a tightrope of financial jeopardy there is another ordering the new office chairs. However some have thrived, and others have not.

Shades of being online

The explosion into more digital working, shopping and meeting has meant that we have now accelerated the growth of all online retail channels significantly. Not just pure online, but also the connectivity between online and the physical stores. There is a much less talked about factor that sees the physical stores build a presence online through social media. This extends the offer and offers another channel of selection. Few, if any, are not online, even the much talked about Primark are online, they just do not transact online. The fact that they have 8.8M followers on their Instagram accounts suggests they are online savvy. They have just chosen a profitable route to being online, one that eschews delivery and messy returns processes and concentrates on driving traffic to its stores.

Retail Sectors

Some of the large Grocers have spent a lot of money on keeping Covid at bay and invested in a home shopping growth that has seen the largest expansion since inception to an area where frankly they do not make money. The benefit of having numerous product groups selling, when prime retailers of these goods ( fashion, electronics, housewares, dining, and drinking) have not been able to open, has been lost. Disposable income now blooming will unfortunately wither on the vine and living standards are expected to grow by only 0.3% over the course of this parliament, this is very very low. Even those retailers benefiting from the boom time house renovation rise will see a slowdown, as Covid diminishes and its macro-financial impact is more apparent.

Time to look in the Mirror

So is it all doom and gloom? No not on your Nelly! There are some key things retailers need to do to make the most of a transforming retail landscape. In one word it is called SEAMLESSNESS. Here are our bullet points for continued success.

  1. Embrace cognitive diversity. Stop listening to the same people, look around your decision team and ensure they represent your customers!

  2. Think like a customer and be in every channel they are (even if it is not transnational). If you did not do #1 then this is difficult.

  3. Eradicate Silo thinking, you may have talked about this a lot, many have, few have really done it. If you have not embraced #1 then you will not be doing this.

  4. Have a single source of truth for all data and reporting to re-enforce one team approach.

  5. Audit yourself and your team on your strategic goals, milestones, and tactics, ensure you have complete objectivity in this.

When all these are done you can then look in the mirror and say you did all you could to take hold of the opportunity that so many of your competitors who no longer exist did not. Time to celebrate each milestone.

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