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Retail can be very puzzling

BY Dave Wendland

Nothing could be truer in today’s ever-challenging consumer healthcare market than the immortal words of Yogi Berra, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might end up someplace else.”
 
I often use the analogy of puzzle-making when I moderate strategy sessions with clients. Why? Because it provides a framework from which to fuel the conversation and the ideation that moves an organization or a brand forward. Think about it this way; if you were putting together a puzzle in the most efficient manner, I suspect you would first look at the cover of the box and get an idea of what outcome is expected. So why not strategize in the same manner?
 
If you are a retailer, imagine this scenario. Begin your “puzzle-making” by describing what the desired outcome looks like. Then ensure that the edges (foundation) are solidly in place before trying to fill in the center. That’s why I believe retail is puzzling – requiring that all interconnected pieces are perfectly placed.
 
As a supplier or trusted business partner, align your resources with each retailer’s vision (their finished puzzle). Bear in mind that each retail entity will likely have a different puzzle that they are endeavoring to build. If you’re not sure where they are going, ask. If you don’t take time to understand their direction then I suspect you will end up someplace else.
 
It is my belief that new business growth will demand that companies try new, out-of-the-box approaches. Expecting different business outcomes while doing the same thing is impossible – and impractical. Millennials, representing the leading buying power of tomorrow’s economy, certainly shop differently than their parents, use technology as both an enabler and a communication tool, network with strangers and recommend choices to their friends much more openly than the previous generation, and they have little tolerance for retail environments that do not satisfy their desires…on all fronts (assortment, convenience, culture, community, personalization, technology, and more). Why then do we insist on managing retail operations just like we did for their parents?
 
Marco Rubio, during his presidential bid announcement on April 13 suggested that “Yesterday is over. We Americans are proud of our history, but our country has always been about the future.” This is equally applicable to today’s retail business climate. I firmly believe that companies do not have to abandon their past but they must be willing to forge into new uncharted waters if they expect to remain relevant in tomorrow’s market.
 
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CVS, Coca-Cola kick off statewide fitness initiative

BY Ryan Chavis

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory along with Coca-Cola, CVS, Carolina, Piedmont and Charlotte Parent magazines kicked off the Fit Family Challenge, a statewide initiative that promotes health and active living.
 
The free program is open to all North Carolina families. To join and become eligible to win prizes, participants must register at MyFitFamilyChallenge.com. Once registered, families can track their activity and eating habits and earn points in the process. The challenge period begins April 21 to June 15. Participants also receive wellness support through blogs as well as advice and information on free exercise classes via the Parent magazine websites. 
 
“Coca-Cola is committed to promoting healthy, active lifestyles and the Fit Family Challenge is one of the many ways we partner to bring wellness initiatives to North Carolinians,” said Lauren Steele, SVP of corporate affairs, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated. “We are very excited to kick off the first-ever statewide Fit Family Challenge in North Carolina.”
 
David Purdy, area VP for CVS/pharmacy, added: “CVS/pharmacy is committed to helping people on their path to better health, so we are pleased to support the Fit Family Challenge again this year by raising awareness about the importance of exercise, a well-balanced diet and getting enough rest.”
 
Coca-Cola Consolidated is headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. and is the nation’s largest independent Coca-Cola bottler. 
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ECRM expands horizons with media deal

BY Mike Troy

SOLON, Ohio — Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing just did an unconventional acquisition to provide the company with a new source of growth by applying its successful model of connecting buyers and sellers to the media world.
 
ECRM acquired PressCamp from Lifeboat Events in a deal that will see Lifeboat founder Lance Camisaca joined ECRM in a new role as vice president of sports. Additionally, Chad Battistone of Lifeboat Events will join the ECRM Sports team as an operations manager. PressCamp events are focused on the cycling industry and are designed to connect product manufacturers with the media in a format similar to the way that ECRM events connect retailers with product manufacturers.
 
“The success PressCamp events have demonstrated in the cycling industry makes it an ideal addition to the existing events platform of ECRM and meets our objective to develop an enhanced events portfolio in vertical markets,” said ECRM CEO Greg Farrar. “This is about growing and serving our customers better. It’s about taking the opportunity to enter into markets that we don’t currently serve.”
 
The deal presents interesting growth possibilities for ECRM because combined with PressCamp ECRM has an opportunity to leverage an already robust event portfolio, in a proven and substantial enthusiast market, with its own proprietary events software and streamlined meeting solutions.
 
"We knew finding a strategic buyer for PressCamp would be paramount in assuring we could continue to create meaningful and strong events going forward,” Camisasca said. “ECRM has the resources and bandwidth to create additional PressCamps for the cycling industry as well as events for other active lifestyle markets. ECRM's vision for any industry needing intimate, high quality media and brand interactions is invigorating.”
 
Camisaca is a veteran of the cycling industry who founded Lifeboat Events in 2008 after leaving the helm of Interbike, the cycling industry’s leading trade show.
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