After an unexpected 2020, 2021 is the year of adaptation for the retail sector. With this new reality, looking for new formulas has been a must in all areas.
So has the National Retail Federation done it, which, unable to hold in person its flagship event, the NRF Big Show, has brought together the industry’s top leaders in an online event: the NRF Retail Converge.
At ORQUEST we did not want to lose this appointment organized by the world’s largest retail association. Between June 21th and 25th, we enjoyed featured sessions with the main profiles of companies such as Walmart, Zappos, Kohl’s, CVS, Levi’s, Best Buy and Macy’s. Also, we participated in interesting networking actions through a marketplace reserved for the exchange of tips and solutions to deal with the future of retail.
Leading retail experts agree that they were already in the middle of a digital transformation process, but it has been hugely accelerated by the pandemic.
As reflected in the data published by the NRF on physical retail, growth is steady. In 2020, in-store sales grew by almost 7% and the NRF predicts that it will increase to 13.5% during 2021. According to this data the president and CEO of Qurate Retail Group, Mike George, states that: “Even with the surge of ecommerce spending through the pandemic, it’s still true that 80% of all purchases will take place in-store post-pandemic.”
In the same way, companies such as CVS Pharmacy are particularly aware of the relevance of their retail points of sale, where they have adapted their operational strategy to be able to optimize the distribution of new needs like tests and vaccines, including delivery. ” Those retailers who want to focus on convenience and community are going to have to tailor assortments (in store) to be hyper relevant,” said its president, Neela Montgomery.
Omnichannel is the keyword now. Currently, every retailer uses both online and offline channels to globally satisfy its customers’ needs. Nevertheless, for Kohl’s CEO, Michelle Gass, stores keep being the heart that brings, now and ever, greater value for consumer’s experience. “For us, the stores are the business key, we are thinking about them differently. We are an omnichannel hub.”
Processes complexity took leaders to look for solutions on technology, forecast and data with the main goal of optimizing management and scheduling, reduce costs and provide a better customer service.
Macy’s President Jeff Gennettede speaks about her Company as a “digitally led omnichannel retailer”. Macy’s culture is performance and data driven in order to get the best in-store experience. Betting for new store concepts is part of its strategy to lead apparel sector. One of the actions planned by Macy’s in the near future will be to open small clothing stores.
To impact the customer, in the session “Retail Grows Together: Investing in the Future,” Walmart US CEO John Furner emphasized the relevance of investing in a company’s most important main customer-facing asset: the costumer. “It’s the right thing to do to invest in our teams who serve people to run a better business and we are investing in growth. It’s always about understanding what is possible for us and the customer together. We need to be anticipatory.”
This investment on having the right staff at the right moment to provide a customized customer service is the best summary of everything we lived during the NRF Retail Converge. All roads to success among large and medium-sized retail companies are based on having motivated, trained and happy employees in order to attract, retain and care for the customers who visit the physical store.
After seeing and hearing the statements of all these retail industry leaders, it’s even clearer to us that the future of the physical store is getting longer, brighter and more competitive.
If you want to know how ORQUEST’s hours and tasks scheduling software can help you in this promising physical store future, you can ask for more information filling up the form below.
C007/20-ED. 2020 call for proposals on technological development based on artificial intelligence and other digital enabling technologies within the framework of the strategic action of digital economy and society of the state R&D&I program