Defining ‘astute strategies‘
Creating a balanced organisation, flexible process flows, and a culture for change will benefit you little, unless you channel these attributes correctly into the brightest opportunities.
Every retailer will have different opportunities that will depend on the product and service sectors that they inhabit, the markets in which they operate, their level of ambition and current delivery, and their business strategy. Some opportunities will be common to all.
The first astute strategy consideration is not to focus your attentions on product functions, but to think beyond your internal divisions. Internal divisions can soon become isolated silos, and a focus on specific initiatives by silo will only increase the divisions within your business. This is not a good thing.
Deliver ‘astute strategies’ for your customers
Deliver precise strategies for your customers. Strategies that will make you essential, indispensable and irresistible to them. The benefits of your strategy outputs should primarily be for the customer. The strategies will generally be delivered cross-functionally. They will benefit those functions and the ways they integrate their thinking, principles and processes. Everyone benefits when strategies are not retail function focused.
Do not define strategies by ‘I need to make my buying process more streamline.’ Articulate the strategy as ‘I need to make my products closer to what the customer wants!’ The project resulting from these ambitions may well will involve streamlining your buying processes and include benefits to integrated processes across related functions.
A variety of strategic projects
Apply your ambitions and energy to the things that really add benefit and make a difference to the customer.
Your channel strategy including collaborations, your product and service proposition, assortment plan and structure, your supply partners. Add into that your shop location strategy, your customer communities, your sustainability initiatives, the people in your business, and your ethical values as a business – environment, sustainability and governance – ESG.
I would also consider that the application of technology across every area and function should be a focus of your astute strategies. But don’t work with technology as a function. It is possibly the worst discipline to regard as a function and to isolate. But the fact is, it is so important, so pervasive to every element of retail, that it cannot always be considered just as a facilitator of other strategies. But it must always be viewed in the widest sphere of application, facilitating and bringing functions together, rather than looking at functional technological processes in isolation.
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Our most popular project…bring everything together under one new roof…
Improving your internal team
For all astute strategies, prioritise the likely benefit impact depending on your overall business strategy, and the current levels of practice and skills excellence within your business.
For a new businesses, particularly from non-retail origins, product propositions may be a big opportunity. Brands born on the crest of a wave of disruption, initially thrive through energy, and the novelty of innovation, but will quickly need to learn and incorporate some fundamentals of retail buying & selling. Conversely, the need to expand, to capitalise on new channels, collaborations and market disruptions, may well be the priority for established businesses.
Enrichment of current practices is an opportunity for all. It has the capacity to transform established processes, whilst adding commercial stability to disruptive ones. Enrichment has the potential to bring together the functional ‘nuts and bolts’ with emotional innovation and energy.
Your retail strategy project…
If you don’t require external help, that’s great. I’m happy to help you come to that conclusion through an informal discussion. If we decide together that you could do with a hand, be assured that our assistance will be appropriate, workable, collaborative, affordable and achieve the goals you require.
It’s been my pleasure to have worked with a wide variety of retailers and brands. I’m happy to say that when I occasionally bump into any one of the people I’ve worked with, then we are genuinely still very much on speaking terms.
So, if you want to start the ball rolling, please get in touch.