Why Agile Retail is the Key to Success

Why Agile Retail is the Key to Success

With the recent publication of the 2016 Retail Week Power List, we take a look at what it takes to stay at the top of the increasingly competitive retail industry.

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“Move with the times or face extinction”

This is the top level takeaway from Retail Week’s insight into which leaders are regarded as the visionaries in their field.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that number 1 on the list was Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon. With its move this year into the heartland of retail, launching food and fashion offerings, Amazon now accounts for around 20% of general merchandise sales and takes home 25% of all non-food growth in the UK.

What is being credited as being central to Amazon’s success? Innovation.  

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Innovation: the key to success

Innovation is often cited as being central to the success any business, but it is especially true for retailers. Why is this?

It’s all about consumers.  In today’s fast paced, technology driven world, it’s consumers who are pushing the button on shopping expectations, with Generation Z leading this push.  Commerce is set to change so drastically that those who aren’t properly prepared will find they simply have no place in tomorrow’s retail environment.

In fact, it’s predicted that we’ll see more change in the next seven years than in the entire 20th century.  Those can be scary stats for the unprepared.

Unsurprisingly, at the top of customers’ lists are points like high levels of convenience and an engaging digital experience.  

 

Agile methodologies and “On the Go Economy”

“On the Go Economy” or “On Demand Economy” refers to customers increasingly high levels of expectations on retailers.  This concept of OTGE will bring with it much change, at a rapid pace, meaning businesses can’t afford to be held back by outdated thinking or technology.

So how do business make sure they are equipped and ready to deal with this? It’s not an easy one to answer, but what we do know is that the companies who are exhibiting these values and practices typically have an entrepreneurial mindset. Think about Netflix and Uber, who use a more agile approach to releasing new products and services that means they can adapt quickly and react to customer demands and trends. 

This is what agile working is all about and why it’s a huge asset to retail businesses. The customer is a the centre, with customer feedback and requirements influencing the direction a business follows. Originating from the software development world, agile methods of working are a perfect fit for retail.

Those who innovate, disrupt the market and adapt to an On the Go Economy are the ones succeeding in the increasingly challenging retail business environment.  The retailers that capitalise best on technology will be the winners, but importantly, technology in retail must always reflect the fundamentals: quality, service and, “giving the customer what she wants”.  

It’s fair to say that retailers who are able to quickly adopt OTGE as core to their strategy will have a much better chance of featuring high on the next Retail Power List.

 

Are you ready to “adapt or die” in the face of digital disruption?

We see digital disruption in the news every day, from Uber to Tinder – disruption is synonymous the most successful of businesses. That’s why being agile is so important. Download this free Essential Guide to Agile Business Strategy, from Clearvision’s agile experts, to make sure your strategy is aligned to the right values.

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