Managing Through Disruptive Times
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We’ve got a new report out, and we’re quite proud of it. It’s all about disruption, and how the best retailers are finding ways to navigate it. After all, the retail industry has been subjected to an unprecedented amount of upheaval in the past year. And what’s more, there are no signs that the uncertainty surrounding the ways consumers shop – and the way retailers are able to fulfill those shoppers’ needs – will ease up any time in the foreseeable future. As a result, we wanted to survey retailers to uncover the way they, in their own minds, can best adapt to this new reality.
The title? Managing Through Disruptive Times. And if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, here are some of the top line findings:
- Regardless of their size, what products they sell, or where they are located, our retail respondents tell us they were entirely unprepared for a world where every product gets bought online. More than one out of every two retailers who participated in this research cites the ability to meet growing online demand as their number one Business Challenge, The fact that long-established and highly efficient trade routes with far-off lands were completely shut down for months on end – coupled with a full upending of worker and product safety protocols only further compounds these problems.
- When it comes to the Opportunities they perceive, retailers want help predicting what products they’ll need on hand. Because the uncertainly of the past year removes the ability to forecast based on historical data, those whose sales are already outperforming the industry average place a much higher emphasis on the value of data coming in from external sources. In fact, 77% of these Retail Winners cite “being able to produce highly accurate and granular forecasts” as the highest value thing they can do to better align supply with demand, and that means turning to next generation intelligence tools for help.
- In the Organizational Inhibitors section of the full report, the very first roadblock retailers self-identify is their own systems. Quite simply, old technologies cannot support the agility they so desperately need. Equally as outdated? The reporting systems riding on the backs of these technologies that are meant to inform users on the state of the union. This is a dangerous combination, and our respondents are virtually split (46% select each as their top inhibitor) as to which one is worse.
- As a result of all this, retailers are reaching for new tools; in many cases, those that are empowered by artificial intelligence. Where this data becomes highly instructive, however, is in the differences between which technologies – and which internal processes realignments are required to leverage their value – Retail Winners are prioritizing vs. those of their average and underperforming competitors. This thought process is revealed by observing their financial commitment to acquire the talent needed to build internal expertise, a trend we examine in the Technology Enablers section of the full report.
If you haven’t had a chance yet to read the full report, it is available to everyone for free by following this link. We’re not much for bragging, but we think it’s got an awful lot of value.