Op-Ed: New-Skills to Skirt the Old Ways of Retail
Most of our businesses are still structured for a pre-2007, pre-iPhone world with hugely siloed structures working in a highly linear and lengthy product creation process. We’re stuck there, in many cases, because we lack the skills to do anything different.
Most retailers are run predominantly by merchants (merchant princes!) or financial folks, many of whom lack the capability or will to react or change direction quickly, or to proactively disrupt their own landscape to better engage customers because they are shackled by the old metrics of monthly comps and quarterly results.
The exceptions to this, those retailers who are investing heavily in omnichannel engagement, digital strategies, creative logistics and data driven decision making, may also be struggling financially, but their investments and sense of urgency give them much better odds for survival, perhaps even success.
Today, more than ever, we need entrepreneurial thinking throughout our retail organizations from management to product development, from sourcing to the retail floor, from finance to IT. We need decisiveness, a bias toward action. We need to nurture ideas throughout our organizations, discuss them, test them, and not be upset or worried when some do not work. They won’t all work, but that actually increases the need to keep the pipeline of new ideas full, to keep testing them, tweaking them and fully developing the best ones.
From the top down, we need to foster a culture of smart risk-taking where we are not afraid of failure. Entrepreneurs learn a lot more quickly from failing than they ever do from succeeding.
Just as the consumer has mastered new technologies to take the control of their retail experience away from the retailer, there are a host of new technologies available that can put retailers back in the game of controlling their own destiny. But, they require some very different skills than we have in most of today’s organizations.
Read Ed Gribbin’s full article on Sourcing Journal