Retailers, brace yourself
As we look ahead to the new year there are more unknowns confronting retailers than in decades. Much is subject to change at a moment’s notice, in directions that can’t be accurately predicted, and to magnitudes that may have a significant impact.
- Demanding Consumers
Customers have always been difficult to predict, but now micro forces are overpowering macro trends. Many more, but smaller influencers and niche affinities are making an impact.
IBM – Meet the 2020 consumers driving change
- Disruptive Technology
Tech has been a leading driver of retail change for 20 years and there’s no slow-down. AI advancements, facial recognition, autonomous checkout, and warehouse automation are some of the more disruptive forces.
Forbes – How Tech Will Transform Shopping In 2020
- Bifurcated Politics
It’s anyone’s guess as to the results of the 2020 election and how it will impact consumers and retail. The potential candidates propose widely different views and plans.
Forbes – Business Owners and Consumers Signal Election-Year Caution
- Looming Regulations
Following the political winds is a range of sweeping potential (some inevitable) regulatory changes including CA Digital Privacy, ADA, healthcare, and minimum wage.
c|net – California’s new privacy rights could come to your state, too
- Evolving Competition
Factors include swings in private/public ownership, private equity pullback, resurgent stalwarts, and changing business models.
Pitchbook – The median PE buyout size in consumer products is heading for a decade high
- Evolving Solutions and Solution Partners
Unknowns include what will be the new must-have capabilities, expanding solution footprints, as well as mergers and acquisitions.
Retail TouchPoints – Goldman Sachs Will Acquire Aptos
- Challenging Workforce
Can retailers afford to hire and retain the people they need?
Wall Street Journal – Why Companies Are Failing at Reskilling
- Physical & Digital Security
Cyber attacks and ransomware are on the rise and no longer targeting only the biggest, richest companies. Shopping mall safety remains a top concern.
Chain Store Age – Many retailers still lack response plans for cyberattacks
Retailers, prepare yourself
Mindy Grossman, now President & CEO at WW, coined the phrase “Agile is the new smart.” This has never been truer. We’re not fortune-tellers, but we can tell you what successful retailers have done and are doing.
Invest In Agility
Needing to make big decisions without a crystal ball, your best option is to invest in your company’s ability to change. People, processes, and systems should all be considered.
- Agility in your hiring strategy: Are permanent vs. contract considerations made to facilitate possible future change or are all hires permanent to fill headcount limits?
- Agility in your hiring profiles: Are candidates judged based on their ability to learn and adapt or more on their ability to do the immediate job at hand?
- Agility in your process development: Are processes designed to be changed effectively and efficiently or are they designed with only current requirements in mind?
- Agility in your solution selection: Is solution flexibility scored in your RFP or not?
- Agility in your solution contracting: Are your software subscription fees tied to all potential future business changes or just increases in revenue?
For a more in-depth assessment and a discussion on how to best address gaps, please feel free to contact us.