On June 23rd NRF’s SVP and CIO Dave Hogan will moderate a webinar entitled Surviving and Thriving in the “New Economy”. Joining him in the discussion will be Mike Griswold of AMR Research and Craig Stevenson of IBM Global Retail Industry.
I found myself considering that, despite rhyming with each other, surviving and thriving have very little in common. For a retailer especially, business practices with survival as the goal can be worlds away from what you would do to truly excel in the industry. While I look forward to the webinar discussion, I decided to catch up with Mike Griswold, one of our speakers, ahead of time and get a preview into what it takes to move from survival mode to thriving in the industry.
Are there any steps a retailer can make immediately that points them in the direction of thriving, or is such success a more long term goal?
MIKE: There is a four step process retailers can begin thinking about as they look at their system and process decisions. 1)short-term stabilization 2) create financial agility 3) mid-term strategies 4) positioning for success
Is it enough for some retailers to simply focus on surviving at this point, or should retailers really be striving to be a driving force in an economic turnaround?
MIKE: Retailer success requires focus on 3 things 1) customer intelligence 2) cost containment 3) process improvement. Successful retailers will focus on all 3.
Connecting with customers is one of the topics you’ll be discussing in the webinar. Do you think retailers should be adjusting the way they communicate to their consumers during an economy like this? And when the economy improves, do you think they should revert back to the old connection/communication methods?
MIKE: Communication styles are beginning to change, but must be made within the context of understanding your shoppers. For example who is comfortable receiving info via a mobile device vs. email.
Your retail background has an IT focus. Do you think retailer’s IT investments are going to play a large role in the turnaround? What kinds of IT strategies will you be discussing in the webinar?
MIKE: IT decisions will be more important that ever. Retailers are still spending money, but the amount to spend is less and forces better decision making.
A big thank you to Mike for taking the time to answer a few questions ahead of the webinar. I look forward to even more discussion later this month during the live webinar.
Blog Readers- Feel free to submit questions in this blog and our speakers will try to address them in the upcoming webinar. And if you want to attend the webinar yourself, register here.