Agile Retailers: Here’s Your End of Year Innovation Debrief for 2020

Throughout 2020, the theme for the retail sector has been agility.  Here at Maven Wave, we’ve been helping the next generation of industry frontrunners find their “North Star” in an unpredictable consumer landscape. Earlier this year, our retail practice leader Chris Daniel identified four key actions that a retailer can take to become more agile in their business:

  • Organize around the customer experience
  • Ensure a consistent omnichannel experience
  • Eliminate friction
  • Prioritize the health and safety of customers and employees

With Q1 2021 fast approaching, we thought we’d connect these perspectives to larger industry narratives. With information moving faster than ever, we’ve curated five thought leadership resources that retailers will find value in reading before the end of the year.

COVID Didn’t Kill Topshop — a Lack of Creativity Did

Source: Financial Times

With a new generation of agile retailers emerging, one of the most valuable steps as retail leaders is to conduct thorough post-mortems on recent bad news. It’s inevitable, over these next several years, that some retailers will struggle more than others. The best way to pay respect to these setbacks is to avoid repeating the mistakes that led to failure in the first place. This opinion piece analyzes what led to the end of a global retail brand.

Converse CEO on Building the Brand of the Future

Source: Innovation Leader

Converse is a timeless brand with an iconic reputation and image. One estimate says that 60% of Americans have owned a pair of chucks in their lifetimes. With this history comes a responsibility for Converse to lead an era of change into the future. This interview with Scott Uzzell, president and CEO of Converse, shares the steps that the organization took to respond to the sudden uncertainty of COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, and global economic uncertainty. A key topic revolves around the question of how to build a future-ready brand.

How AR Is Redefining Retail in the Pandemic

Source: HBR

COVID-19 has created a push for retailers seeking to use more innovative technology. It’s likely that augmented reality (AR) will be a focal point on every strategic team’s agenda. The challenge of implementing this tech; however, is that it’s very broad and expansive. A careful consideration process is necessary to translate ideas into feasible strategies and actional tactics. In this resource, Helen Papagiannis, author of Augmented Human, shares practical applications of AR in retail.

Q&As for Retailers on COVID-19

Source: Retail Council of Canada
In the coming years, there needs to be a deeper level of collaboration between governments, particularly in the West, to navigate crisis situations. Right now, retailers are navigating a number of unknowns with regards to the human costs of the pandemic. The Retail Council of Canada has created a database of frequently asked questions from its members, with topics ranging from relief measures to recovery toolkits, mask requirements, mental health resources, implications on privacy and data, health and safety requirements, and more.

How Retail Can Adapt Supply Chains to Win in the Next Normal

Source: McKinsey

One outcome of the pandemic is a push for retailers to take greater ownership over their supply chains. Facing competitive dynamics, concerns over consumer confidence, and heightened demand for last-mile delivery, retail needs to adapt. This article presents a close examination of both consumer discretionary and non-discretionary categories.

The Road Ahead

In 2020, the key themes we saw in retail were human health, resiliency, adaptability, and digitization. In 2021, there will need to be a focus on execution and a transition into truly becoming an Agile Retailer. As we predicted and already saw this year, the traditional Black Friday events were shaken up and spread out over the course of almost two months instead of concentrated on a single week. As we step into 2021, are you ready for the lasting changes this will have on consumer behavior and needs? Contact us to discuss how Maven Wave can help you become an Agile Retailer.

Maven Wave will also be exhibiting at the National Retail Federation’s NRF 2021: Retail’s Big Show – Chapter 1 in January. Join us virtually to connect with our experts.

About the Author

Ritika Puri
Ritika Puri
Ritika Puri is a sociologist, writer, and ecosystem-builder who is on a mission to uplevel human potential by expanding the consciousness of leaders. She specializes in working with extremely high performers, in high stakes situations, to help them align their everyday decisions to a timeless historical legacy. She helps organizations and leaders stretch the limits of what’s possible and has been the storytelling muscle behind some of the world’s most innovative organizations. Her teaching methods come from her lifelong experiences in martial arts, which she has been teaching to others since she was 12 years old. She has prepared hundreds of executives to speak at events ranging from The Lean Startup Conference to Mobile World Congress and the U.N. General Assembly. She holds a B.A. in Literature from Claremont McKenna College and M.A. in Demographic Analysis from the University of California at Irvine. She is one of the co-founders and lead consultants at Storyhackers.com.
December 15th, 2020
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2020-12-15T14:35:00-06:00