A former boss of mine used to say, “This strategy works…until it doesn’t.” His specific point was that all merchandising strategies eventually fail. Hopefully, your CEO or GMM can anticipate that moment and create a new strategy, but even if they tell you to hit trend, cover entry price points, fend off Forever 21 and H&M, grow knit tops by 3x, become a wear-to-work destination, etc. – will you know how?
After twenty years focused on retail strategy, I took a two-year hiatus in an attempt to make my Internet riches with a software start-up. When I returned to consulting in late 2012 (alas, sans riches), I returned to a significantly changed retail landscape. The Internet was certainly important in 2010, but not nearly as integral. Well into the late ‘00s, stores always mattered more. Today, few retail decisions are made without consideration of digital. And for most retailers, digital is their fastest growing and most profitable channel, for both marketing and transactions.
Digital has altered both supply and demand Continue reading “Retail Strategy in the Digital Age”
2013 was an inflection point for U.S. mall retailing. The economy warily emerged from its Great Recession doldrums, share prices reclaimed record highs, and online retail ascended to become mall retail’s equal partner (in influence if not in transactions).
Promotions offering discounted prices have always been a prominent feature of U.S. retail, but they’ve become significantly more so since the recession melted away demand and technology reduced to near-zero the cost of targeted communications. An unintended consequence for many retailers is that their customers now expect discounts; ticket prices lack credibility; and discounting becomes the only way to move merchandise.