When the Exotic Meets the Familiar: What Today’s Retail Market has in Common with Coconut Grits
I had the very great pleasure of co-hosting a dinner last week at Blue Ginger near Boston, attended by exceptional Northeast-based retailers from a range of sectors: grocery, office supply, specialty, and apparel, among others. Chef Ming Tsai’s phenomenal menu was equaled by the quality of the conversation, which was kicked off with some powerful industry insights from EKN’s Sahir Anand. I’m pleased to share some of the discussion highlights with you here.
The 800-pound gorilla, Amazon, was of course very much on the minds of all in the room. The retailers, regardless of segment, experience unrelenting pressure in terms of assortment, customer mindshare and – more than ever – price. The old tried-and-true ways just can’t keep pace anymore, and businesses and their people are feeling the strain of trying to do more with fixed resources, compete effectively with Amazon and others, and wrestle successfully with their ballooning data assets to get meaningful insights that can help drive customer loyalty and still protect margins and the bottom line.
Talk turned to other highly disruptive forces as well: millennial consumer behaviors, the rise of ecommerce, omni-channel, and 24/7 mobility. With our deep heritage in responsive merchandize optimization, I heard a lot of talk about getting back to basics (which I applaud!): well-designed and executed pricing and promotions, solid collaboration and teamwork to break down organizational silos, and value-driven retailing that is gratifying to customers.
But there was equally urgent discussion about embracing cutting-edge and exotic approaches to thriving in today’s chaotic landscape. Applying deep science to drive analytics that deliver highly targeted pricing and promotions with a view to the entire customer journey. Harnessing all your customer data, from traditional and new sources from T-logs to texts, with big data technologies that give you real-time insights – and with self-learning algorithms that evolve and adapt continually as your customers and competitors change. Embracing software tools that give a holistic view of customers and the entire merchandizing landscape, while driving organizational collaboration to break down silos. And, as Sahir noted in his follow-up to the session, “Traditionally pricing/promotions were relegated to the back seat but these are coming to the forefront now due to their strategic importance in terms of driving growth and customer differentiation.”
That got me thinking about how today’s successful retail leaders address the fundamentals but also act as bold innovators. Much as chef Ming Tsai takes familiar, proven ingredients, like grits, and combines them with coconut to deliver a powerful, palette-pleasing punch. (The kimchi coleslaw worked really well too, by the way, paired beautifully with roasted chicken breast with Korean barbecue sauce.)
It’s a great pleasure in my role here at Revionics to see how retailers combine their market savvy, unique value proposition and hard-won customer knowledge with our predictive analytics to deliver powerful business results and rapid ROI through responsive pricing, promotion and markdown solutions. I’d love to talk with you to see how we can cook up a market-winning approach for your business. I invite you to contact us today.