Evolve or Die

Winning in Retail in 2016

Retail & Consumer Products

April 26, 2016

APAC Retail Report

According to a 2015 Fitch study, “retailing will change more in the next five years, than it has in the past fifty years.”  As another year in retailing is clicking by, are retailers really preparing themselves to compete in an ever changing environment? Thanks to low interest rates, aggressive promotions, steady employment and a positive environment created by a more stable and optimistic government, retailers may be doing “ok”, which often means “surviving.”

Survival appears to be a common thread not only among small to mid-size retailers but even among some of Australia’s largest retailers as well. Though it is in fact through good fortune and rampant discounting that the 2016 retail year again may be “saved.” So what’s next? We think Jamie Nordstrom had it right with his “Evolve or Die” mantra at Shop.org. Innovation, disruption and revolution are the key themes for 2016. It’s time for action; time for change.

Of course, it’s much easier to talk about disruption and revolution when you’re  not in the thick of it; sitting through the Monday meeting going over last week’s sales and  debating why traffic  continues to be down, while discussing which promotions to tweak in the upcoming weeks and  how to get store associates to redouble their efforts around conversion and Units per Transaction (UPTs). Perhaps even exploring how deep to go in the customer relationship management (CRM) house file (or how often to keep going back to best customers with another “secret” sale); which e-commerce offers to trigger; how to clear through excess inventory; and which costs to cut.

For many retail executives, talking about the bigger, more fundamental changes that need to happen in order to disrupt, evolve and/or revolutionize the business is something that occurs only occasionally — at an off-site, a corporate retreat, or perhaps as part of the annual strategic planning process.

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