BrainTrust Query: Don’t Fall Behind Waiting for the Rebound
David Dorf, Director
of Technology Strategy, Oracle Retail
I recently participated
in a RIS News webinar titled “2010 Rebound Strategies: A Retail
Symposium.” As a panelist, I gave some advice that I think merits repeating
here. Retailers need to continue innovating, regardless of the economy.
Those that do will be better positioned when the “retail rebound” occurs.
are four forces that are reshaping the retail industry:
Web 2.0/Social: People
tend to trust their network of friends for reviews and advice, and social
media is making it easier for them to communicate. So its paramount that
retailers enter the conversation. I have a friend that had a bad experience
at BestBuy. He complained to BestBuy via Twitter, and when he didn’t
get satisfaction he wrote about it in his blog and tweeted to his 3000
followers. One mistake was amplified and the brand was damaged. Retailers
need to invest in their social media efforts.
Mobile Devices: I
think there are some great opportunities to connect to customers via their
mobile phone. Starbucks has iPhone applications that let users find the
nearest store or manage their prepaid account. Pizza Hut claims to have
driven $1M in incremental sales via their iPhone application. When phones
are equipped with Near-field-communications, things will get really interesting.
Global Economy: In
terms of the Global Economy, much of the growth is occurring outside North
America so our systems need to be internationalized, which is no small
task. But there have been some failures overseas because the cookie-cutter
approach doesn’t always work. Localized assortments and the ability to
capitalize on local trends are crucial to success.
today’s consumers shop differently. E-commerce has increased expectations
for having vast product information, endless aisles, and personalized recommendations.
To satisfy these needs cost-effectively, stores will need more self-checkout,
kiosks, and loyalty programs that cater to the consumer.
So how do we
prepare for the rebound?
at least be experimenting in each of these four areas, because when retail
rebounds it will be forever changed. It’s important to iterate often: succeed
or fail quickly, and foster risk-taking by employees. Those that continue
to innovate will pass by those that don’t.
Questions: Of the four forces reshaping retail mentioned in the article
(Web 2.0/social, mobile devices, global economy, demographics), which
ones should be most emphasized as stores prepare for the rebound? Are
any major forces missing from the list?