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RETAIL DISRUPTION: THE NEW NORM

How well is your company prepared to respond to all the changes?

I don’t know about you, but my head spins each week just trying to keep up with news about innovation and change in our industry. If you are not doing so already, I urge you to subscribe to Kevin Coupe’s industry e-newsletter (www.MorningNewsBeat.com). I have been an avid follower of Kevin’s work, but the number and depth of issues he shares makes me wonder if he is, in fact, human — or an android news-gathering machine!
innovationsThe chart to the right features a sample of some of the innovation efforts I read about in the past few weeks. While Amazon is clearly an innovation machine in the digital space, traditional retailers like Kroger, Walmart, 7-Eleven and many others are engaged in digital innovation as well. In brick and mortar, acquisitions and mergers are and will likely remain a key element of change, but activities around format innovation, health and wellness, and price/value positioning will likely be common threads for future innovation platforms.

READY OR NOT
Today’s retail disruption is remarkable, driving many companies to take quick, reactionary measures against competitive activities to protect their turf. A recent example is Amazon Prime Day, the July 15th sale touted as bigger than Black Friday. It was almost instantly matched by similar offerings from Target and Walmart. This kind of reactionary response raises questions about the organizational readiness of your company to respond to change. How do you weed through the never-ending sea of changes and determine an appropriate response? If your organization is operating in a reactionary mode involving numerous levels, you might be spending too much time spinning your wheels rather than focusing on what matters most to your shoppers, your consumers or your organization. How many companies have formed special SWAT teams to establish processes to gather competitive activities and then serve up recommended responses to company leaders, allowing the majority of the organization to focus against their company business plans?
Nielsen retail measurement insights suggest that larger companies are not better poised for innovation and change. An evaluation of 50,000 lead-share brands within specific categories revealed that it is the smaller brands, not the lead brands or private brands, that have gained unit share of sales over the past two years. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that small or mid-tier brands are more adept at dealing with change, it does raise an interesting point about what type of company is better equipped to react — or not — to change.

THE TAKEAWAY
Change is good, but dollars are better! In an environment where change is constant, how adept is your company at maintaining focus on what matters most to stay connected and relevant to your shoppers or consumers and grow your business?

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