Big Idea

New Work and Capabilities in 2013 and Beyond

This month’s “Big Idea” will consider the drivers of this change, the nature of disruption to these 3 realms, and the action steps we can begin to take today to respond.

Executive Summary

Tidal forces of change are affecting our industry, and they will require structural re-alignments that cut to the core of the work we do and the capabilities we require to succeed. The structural changes can be considered in 3 realms:
  • Product: How consumer goods are planned, produced, promoted, and sold
  • Information and Analytics: The number of inputs and the complexity of outputs we need to diagnose and plan against market activity and demand
  • People and Skills: The talent quotient and the capabilities necessary to execute in a polarized, volatile, and connected marketplace
The disruption in these 3 realms of structural change will require concrete re-tooling and investment, not merely a modification of existing processes.

This month’s “Big Idea” will consider the drivers of this change, the nature of disruption to these 3 realms, and the action steps we can begin to take today to respond.

Modern retailing is in the midst of an unprecedented amount of fundamental change, the drivers of which are affecting the trade simultaneously. Kantar Retail detailed the scope of these drivers at our Year End Forum in December. In short, we clustered these drivers into 3 primary spheres:
  • Polarization: The shopper base is becoming more fragmented (and therefore heterogeneous) on a number of fronts—income, ethnicity, generation, ideology, and location (urban vs. suburban/rural).
  • Volatility: Macro-economic and regulatory shifts are often rapid and unpredictable.
  • Connectivity: Mobile devices now enable the shopper to be “always on,” regardless of location, demanding seamless connections across media and a customized relationship at the intersection of place, person, and time.
These spheres of change are external to the trade itself, and not “self-inflicted” (as in the cases of, say, the transformations driven by category management in the 1990s or enterprise integration in the 2000s). Yet, the external drivers of this change should not lead us to conclude that they aren’t manifesting themselves within the industry. Kantar Retail has identified 5 trends at retail that represent the impact of the 3 spheres identified above:
  • Personalization: The shopper’s expectation of tailored price, promotion, and product
  • Localization: Assortments customized by geography
  • Small Box Proliferation: Increasing number and dispersion of price-competitive locations under 25K square feet
  • Urbanization: Growth of innovative formats in urban areas
  • Online Activation: The portability of assortment and price

Needless to say, each of these shifts is far-reaching in its effect; taken together, they demand a re-think of the very work we do and the capabilities we’ll need to ensure relevance to shoppers.

Big Idea

What Are "Big Ideas"?

Forward looking and thought provoking, Big Ideas focus on the topics we believe will most significantly affect the retail landscape. Developed by our experts, these are the must-have insights in helping you prepare for the realities of tomorrow.