Big Idea

Winning Retail Channels: 2015 & Beyond

Large changes are taking place in the global channel landscape, and signs of change are everywhere. Amazon lockers have become commonplace in the USA; French retailers such as Leclerc, Auchan, Carrefour, Systeme U, Intermarche, and Casino have launched “drive” stores with a passion; and small stores—or small versions of big stores—have appeared on all continents. Retail growth is being driven from unconventional places and evolved business models, and we find ourselves outgrowing many old business frameworks and assumptions.

Over the next few years, the industry will be challenged to adapt and make critical investment decisions. Increasingly complex shopper behavior will be fundamental to understand and address, and rapidly advancing technology will continue to challenge and reshape our strategies and competencies. All of these changes will require us to bring new skills and capabilities to our key accounts, and it will become even harder to know which ones to use under ever-evolving circumstances.

This month’s Big Idea examines these changes and how they will evolve by 2015. We propose that suppliers look toward 2015 using a new lens—a new frame of reference. Whereas in the past, the lens applied was that of “channel,” in the future, we expect “shopper” to play a much larger role in defining what solutions will emerge at retail.

As we examine the changing channel landscape from a shopper lens, three themes stand out:

  1. Shoppers want new things from the same channels. They still want to shop at supermarkets, but they want something different from their supermarket. Moreover, shoppers are demanding options: multiple delivery options, the ability to trade down or up, premium services, etc.
  2. Hybrid channels are the mid-term solution that many retailers can deliver and deliver well. Most retailers can neither make profit from the “personalized” retail experience (yet), nor roll out personalized solutions quickly enough, due to real-world constraints. Hybrid concepts take a pragmatic step forward, capturing more specific demographics and trip types.
  3. Online and mobile retail solutions will reshape the in-store shopping experience. Retailers will still need to build brand consistency across all consumer touchpoints and take care to avoid alienating shoppers that are slow to adopt new technologies.

Successful suppliers will collaborate with key retail accounts to create a shopping environment that

  • delivers something different and unique in key channels,
  • creates new hybrid channel experiences,
  • keeps modernized shoppers engaged / entertained, and
  • gives traditional shoppers the time and space they need to gain comfort.

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.