Friday 10 January 2014

A changing retail landscape - so what?

If the UK retail landscape is really changing fundamentally - and the combination of 'squeezed middle', latest Christmas results and increasing impact of the savvy consumer seem pretty fundamental - the issue has to be what you need to do about it, now!

Traditionally, a NAM could wait for things to settle down and then take a short break from the fire-fighting before attempting to change course...

However, your 2014 plans have already been put to bed and you are seeing Tesco next week!

Essentially, in any market shift, what really changes is the relative competitive appeal of the various retail players, from the points-of-view of their customers, who then act accordingly. From your perspective, your key focus should be the perspective of your target consumer, as part of your retail customer's traffic.

Fundamentally, your consumer will see the retailer as an 8P combination (Products & Assortment, Pricing, Promotional activities, Place i.e. store location, Personnel, Physical distribution & handling, Presentation of stores & products, and Productivity) and judge the retailer as better or worse than the available alternatives in the market in terms of how well they appear to meet their needs.

In other words, a NAM needs to re-assess their target consumer's need-set in the current climate and then make a judgement as to whether the new market dynamics (squeezed middle, online, convenience etc.) have changed how they view the competitive appeal of your major customer. You need to take a view on how that consumer rates the elements of the 8P mix, as far as your brand and customer are concerned, and decide what the customer needs to change in order to retain market share.

Meanwhile, now more than ever before, major retailers are struggling with fundamental issues of relative competitive appeal, and are - or should be - receptive to commercial insight from realistic and pragmatic NAMs, fresh from the coalface...

This moment of uncertainty represents a window for frank information and insight exchange, like never before..

Time to contact the buyer and warn them that next week's meeting could get pretty fundamental, may possibly take a little longer, but could represent a way forward for you both...?


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