This week, we hosted our Retail Insights Conference with some 300 attendees coming from across the retail landscape to strategize and network. Over the span of two days, we addressed topics that cut across the retail spectrum with one sole focus: the paths forward that will be necessary to maintain relevance and drive retail growth through the 2020s. While disruption will continue to abound and the pressures on our industry will no doubt intensify, we also get to be part of some exciting and profound changes. With these changes in mind, here are a few of thought-starters for you coming out of this event, along with a quick update on the most recent insights we’re tracking for you.

As you sense check and evolve your retail plans in 2020:

  • Are you planning for the weather or the climate? With the sheer amount of noise and disruption confronting retail today, it is so easy to get caught up in the “weather.” The problem is that adjusting to the weather, not the climate, gives us too many umbrellas and not enough roof. As our Chief Knowledge Officer Bryan Gildenberg pointed out at our event, one of the first places to start to adjust your lens is with a hard look at where in fact you are placing your bets: The vast majority of most companies' dollars are aligned with customers who are not actually outgrowing the market; a similar challenge applies to the ways you may be segmenting and thinking about shoppers.
  • Are you internalizing less obvious (and potentially larger) shopper opportunities? Our ShopperScape® data sheds light on sizeable opportunities with more hidden shopper segments. Getting at these less visible opportunities requires segmenting shoppers in ways more aligned to shopping approach and mindset. Even getting at the more visible opportunities, like the rise of Centennials and Utilitarians (by our definition), requires moving away from a life stage focus to one more aligned to life preference and, just as importantly, moving with shoppers through life stages. This is a strong growing body of work that our shopper team, led by Mary Brett Whitfield, will continue to dive deeper into next year too. 

  • Are your selling and development efforts still tied to product and category? Shifting to a lens that is more retail climate change-driven provides clearer and more formidable opportunities for deeper engagement with your customers, retail partners, and even within your own organizations. In the new decade, these opportunities will be shaped less by selling, category, and product, and more by embedding (into broader ecosystems); aligning to trips, baskets and more personalized formats; and engaging with purpose via sustainability. At our event this week, my colleagues Tory Gundelach, Tim Campbell, Brian Owens, and Dave Marcotte shared exciting steps for retail players to take to enable growth in these directions. 

  • Are you strategizing for eCommerce or "just Commerce"? The retail future is less eCommerce and more, well, commerce. Pollinating eCommerce skills, headcount and career paths across retail organizations is the key to driving productivity and harmonizing against the inherent complexities of growing online and growing at retail overall. This extends to how you are approaching data and agency partnerships, and even product packaging. As our head of eCommerce insights, Todd Szahun, will tell you, it's not about what worked last year or last month. If you're not challenging the status quo, you're putting your growth at risk. And as our Amazon lead, Rachel Dalton, will tell you: it's increasingly less about the functions your products are serving and more about the connections you are enabling through them.

If you’re a subscriber of KRIQ, you can get hold of the content from this event here. If you’re curious to learn more or want to share your pov coming out of this event, I would love to hear from you at

Beyond this event, our team’s been hard at work to make sure you get the latest insights from a retailer, shopper, and seasonal holiday lens. Here’s what else is new on KRIQ:

Insights for all:

 Retailer and channel-specific insights:

Have a great weekend, and happy KRIQing.

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