Insights Breakthrough: The Pulse of Recovery
By Kantar Retail
The spring of 2010 was indeed a fascinating time to be studying the retail marketplace, as the global economy - fueled largely by developing markets and a sporadic recovery in the US and Europe - continues to recuperate. At no time in recent history has rethinking
been more important: reassessing the markets, channels, strategies, and structures that have driven past success. Kantar Retail has been rethinking our core offer as well, particularly how we combine the great work of our four legacy companies into an integrated whole.
As we all move into the 2010-2014 strategic planning horizon and button down operating plans for 2011, we encourage you to consider a few attributes of the rethinking process - innovation, repositioning, and precision - featured in this issue of Breakthrough Insights
- Growth in this environment will come from innovation - but not just innovative products. New markets, new areas of focus, and new ways of doing business will be essential for growth. Conversely, many of us will find that many of our traditional "growth wells" have dried up to some degree, forcing even more differentiated strategies. Key examples:
- Our assessment of US and European economic indicators is the business case for innovative approaches, as the economic recovey remains uneven and unpredictable. Expect more of this type of insight from Kantar Retail's research model: how the economy is fueling retailer strategy and behavior in 2010 and beyond.
- Our view of forward-looking forecasting techniques will be critical. To get 2011-2014 right, companies must retool their forecasting to use more forward-looking views and less " drag and drop" extrapolation of the past.
- New markets become more critical. Kantar Retail's groundbreaking research on retail in developing economies explains how modern trade functions in many of the world's high-growth markets. Also, we examine changes in the Russian marketplace that should hopefully make multi-national commerce easier. In 2010 we will be accelerating our coverage of some key markets for growth - notably China - as we seek to adapt to the changing growth footprint of our global retail landscape.
- The rapid growth and evolution of the online grocery channel in the UK is symptomatic of the major shifts we all should consider, as retail sales and marketing increasingly digitizes. A key theme in this overview is the decreasing role that retailers are playing in framing the shopper's decision process, as pricing and product information becomes more readily available for third-party sources.
Repositioning - Though Walmart isn't "all of retail," we are seeing notable strategic changes that we highlight in this issue: the innovation and retooling of Walmart's Project Impact and the shift in strategic emphasis at Sam's Club. Critical is the need for retailers to find non-sales growth pathways to increasing return on capital. In the US, Europe, and Japan, this type of conversation will become the dominant theme of retailer/supplier relations. It will require a major retooling of suppliers' vocabulary and thought process as so many of our tactics, skills and incentives are aimed at the top-line growth first - an approach that will not be sufficient for best-in-class retailer partnership.
Repositioning is also happening at a shopper level. With an in-depth look through Kantar Retail's ShopperScape™, we examine shopper attitudes and behavior in a critical segment of the retail marketplace: the US consumer electronics industry. Re-engineering communications and marketing against a more pragmatic, prudent, and cautious consumer will be a major theme of our 2011 marketing program development.
Precision - Increasingly, retailers will find it more difficult to grow with a one-size-fits-all philosophy and will aim to develop more refined, targeted approaches to much of their core work. In this issue we focus on trade spending and promotion: an eye-popping look at the levels and nature of trade funding along with a summary of our trade promotion survey. One core retailer requirement that comes out of this survey is the need for shopper insights to fuel trade promotions, and Kantar Retail shares some thoughts on how to successfully achieve this. More broadly, we discuss how vendor criteria are shifting at key retailers and how suppliers must raise their game to win.
Finally, we hope you enjoy a conversation with the leader of Kantar Retail's Americas Insights Team, Mary Brett Whitfield, as she shares her vision on how our research team will continue to grow and deliver the best insights in the retail industry.
Innovation, repositioning, and precision. If your work in 2010 is not more skewed to these three areas than it has been in the past, keep the rethinking process going. Otherwise, you may be missing significant opportunities to grow sales and profits.
Chief Knowledge Officer, Kantar Retail
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