by Phil Dorrell, Partner, Retail Remedy
It’s a cheesy line borrowed from a cheesy character (The A team) but it does sum up my view on the way retail should largely be run. Big retailers employ huge teams of interesting and creative people who are all motivated to deliver their slice of retail heaven to a perceived or real customer need. The fact that central teams are now so enormous just means that they come out with ever more interesting and creative ideas on what should happen in store. And you see that’s the problem, the more activity that the head office puts in the more likely it is that some / most of it will fail.
I have worked with and consulted with numerous, very large retailers across the world and the common theme in most is that they try and do too much, they pack activity thinking this is what customers want, when really it is usually what competing suppliers want. Most of the big boys have a filtering mechanism, a central operations function that helps put a lid on activity and build it in a way that stores can handle. Some of these teams however are simply not effective enough in saying,
“Not then, but then”,
“Maybe, but not like that” or
“Brilliant idea, let’s help you build it”.
Few are good enough at measuring activity hitting stores and reflecting back to the originator to see if it was all worthwhile, creating a future desire to put in more activity.
The hope that Tesco’s move towards more front margin, relying less on over-riders and volume incentives, will quell the desire to see supplier activity bombarding stores. I have seen a similar move down in Australia and it may not be the most compelling message for the suppliers but it does deliver a consistency that customers welcome.
Making the transition from a tame filtering of activity to professional central operations can be transformational for a business. Leading to renewed belief from the retail teams, improved supplier relationships as execution in store is consistently great and of course the customer wow of having store change delivered without disruption and with impact. Retail Remedy has delivered this in a number of different retailers across the globe and recognise the pitfalls in only half doing it. Look around the estate, if it all looks different (and you don’t want it to), if change lands in fits and starts, if the customer message in-store does not link to the one in the media, ask yourself one question? Do we need to improve retail execution? You know where we are and a call costs nothing. Let’s talk retail.