#RIC17 Panel: Compete To Keep Your Customer Front And Center

Recent retail headlines in the business news lately been particularly negative: bankruptcies, store closings and financial woes. Yet research from Deloitte demonstrates that the industry is indeed experiencing significant disruption — but that it’s not just negative disruption.

During the #RIC17 panel titled Escaping The Trap Of Convention: How To Rethink Retail And Regain The Customer, Kasey Lobaugh, Chief Retail Innovation Officer at Deloitte and moderator of the panel, reported that holiday 2016 was the strongest retail holiday season since 2011.

“Over the holiday, we found both online and brick-and-mortar grew by roughly $12 billion,” said Lobaugh. “The growth rate was different: online grew 12% and stores grew 2.3%. But the growth is still there.”

These apparent contradictions have the industry scratching its head, wondering what’s really going on. According to the panel, the answer to how retailers should rethink competition to regain the customer boils down to just that: the customer.

The panelists included:

  • Rose Hamilton, Chief Digital Officer, The Vitamin Shoppe (former)
  • Chau Banks, Executive Vice President, Chief Information Officer and Channel Integration, New York & Company
  • Jason Morris, Vice President of Retail Technology, Walmart

The Evolution Of Omnichannel

It’s the retail buzzword to end all buzzwords: omnichannel. But no buzzword is more important than the customer.

“You can come up with any name you want, but at the end of day, it’s still all about the customer,” said Hamilton. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a small company or a big company, you really need to be able to understand the customer journey, and where customers are leaking out. More importantly, audit and understand that, and then figure out what you’re doing differently/uniquely in your experience that really makes you not a commodity. You can come up with interesting, technical terms, but at the end of the day, the data that exists to understand customers gets smarter…