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Tumultuous Changes Drive Retail Reinvention

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In early January 2020, Workday commissioned RSR to conduct a benchmark to understand the challenges retailers face to respond to the changing world of retail and its impact on strategic initiatives – what inhibitors exist to building organization agility to plan, execute and respond more effectively. We also wanted to understand how they would adjust business processes to reflect the changing landscape, including the introduction of new formats, and how quickly they could adopt and monitor those process changes.

At that time, we discovered that retailers were already contemplating changes to their store formats (Figure below). Their goal was to drive more traffic and improve the overall experience. Competitors had disrupted models that had been in place for years.

Figure: Retailers Plan To Replace And/Or Enhance Store Formats

Source: RSR Research, June 2020

Then, the ultimate disruptor arrived on the scene: COVID-19 is a once-in-a-century pandemic that will likely change shopping patterns yet again, in ways we couldn’t even have predicted four months ago.

We know that the crisis will ultimately end, people will leave their homes, and the business of commerce will start up again. But we also know that the world, especially the world of retail, has irrevocably changed.

In that context, we offer the full study – which is available for free to everyone here. As we wrote it, most of the world was on lockdown, and the supply chain had proven far more brittle than anyone imagined. Today, retail workers in stores (mostly food and drug) and distribution centers still find themselves on the front lines in the fight to maintain some sense of normalcy amid the chaos. But where do we go from here? And how agile will the battered retail industry prove to be in shifting into yet another new normal? Is it ready for change?

In other words, the study has taken on dramatic new importance. The world has changed. We’re not even quite sure what shape that change will ultimately take, but we must understand if retailers are ready.

The report is well worth a read.

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