PR & News

Key Takeaways From the Wiser Industry Leaders Retail Panel: Retail Innovation and Strategy

With the global pandemic acting as a catalyst for change, retailers have been thrust into a new realm of challenges and opportunities. The acceleration in the adoption of digital tools and strategies has become a lifeline for many, enabling them not only to survive but to thrive amidst unprecedented conditions.  

A recent panel hosted by Wiser Solutions shed light on these critical developments, bringing together top retail leaders across the industry. The insights gleaned from this engaging discussion underscore the importance of agility, innovation, and data-driven decision-making when navigating the complexities of today’s retail environment. The speakers shared their frontline experiences and the strategic pivots they made to keep pace with the rapidly changing consumer expectations and market dynamics. 

Highlighting the necessity of leveraging technology to enhance customer experiences and streamline operations, the panelists also emphasized the role of cross-functional collaboration in fostering a more cohesive and efficient approach to retail execution. From adapting to the nuances of pricing strategies in a digital age to reevaluating key performance indicators in light of new consumer behaviors, the knowledge shared during this panel session offers valuable perspectives on how to elevate retail performance in a post-pandemic world. 

Impact of COVID-19 on eCommerce Transition 

  • The COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to adapt quickly, demonstrating the importance of nimbleness in retail operations. 
  • Adaptations included setting up curbside deliveries and Buy Online, Pick Up In-store (BOPUS) services, highlighting the shift towards more flexible purchasing options. 
  • The pandemic period underscored unusual pricing challenges, making traditional market elasticities less relevant and prioritizing product availability over price adjustments. 
  • A key realization for retailers was the importance of focusing on essential items that draw customers, understanding that first impressions based on price can significantly influence customer loyalty. 
  • Managing stock levels and making pricing adjustments in response to fluctuating demand became crucial, with Wiser Solutions emphasizing the development of strategies to maintain balanced price points without resorting to price inflation. 
  • Despite the challenges, there was a collective effort not to overcharge customers, aiming to maintain trust and reliability through consistent stock availability. 
  • The post-pandemic landscape has accelerated digital transformation for retailers, pushing them to upgrade websites and enhance omnichannel strategies more rapidly than anticipated. 
  • Observations indicate a return to pre-pandemic buying patterns, with expectations aligning more closely with consumer behaviors seen in 2019. 

Emerging Technologies 

  • Assessing technologies involves identifying whether they are necessitated by competitive pressures or compliance requirements, such as tax laws or regulations. 
  • The customer journey is a primary focus, with efforts aimed at enhancing it through strategic technology integration. 
  • Collaboration across various departments, including IT, warehousing, and sales, is crucial for implementing solutions that ultimately benefit the customer. 
  • Implementing third-party installations, such as having another company manage the logistics of appliance delivery and installation, highlights the complexity and need for cross-functional teamwork. 
  • The goal is to leverage technologies that not only streamline operations but also significantly improve the customer experience. 

Cross-Functional Collaboration 

  • Top suppliers in the relevant market space need to be identified in order to ensure a comprehensive understanding of potential collaborations. 
  • It’s necessary to involve crucial departments such as sales, logistics, warehousing, and IT for a collaborative and integrated approach. 
  • Retailers need a company-wide focus on enhancing customer experience, demonstrating a unified commitment to excellence and innovation. 

In-Store Price Awareness 

  • Ensuring in-store pricing and product assortments remain competitive can be challenging with retailers who have 300+ stores nationwide, due to the manual labor required for changing prices in response to online price fluctuations. 
  • A price matching guarantee has been implemented to address disparities between online and in-store pricing, ensuring price parity across all platforms. 
  • A strategic decision, endorsed by the company’s CEO, ensures pricing transparency and uniformity across all stores, with occasional digital-only promotions being the exception. 
  • Considering regional pricing through a zip code system, similar to practices by Target, Lowe’s, and Home Depot, could offer flexibility in pricing while maintaining customer transparency. 
  • The challenge of ensuring in-store and online price consistency is viewed as an opportunity to boost sales revenue and margins through better-targeted marketing. 
  • Investment in data analytics has significantly improved assortment planning and distribution, especially in differentiating product offerings between saltwater and freshwater fishing stores. 
  • Technological advancements and the implementation of a new warehouse management system (WMS) aim to optimize product flow through distribution centers, supporting growth and enhanced product assortment capabilities. 

Pricing Strategy 

  • Implementing a Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) strategy is pivotal in staying competitive within highly saturated markets. 
  • Systems set to gauge leniency in brand MAP policies allow for dynamic, data-driven price matching. 
  • Demonstrating flexibility by adjusting prices in response to competitors’ MAP violations ensures competitive parity. 
  • Utilization of digital price tags, informed by comprehensive web crawl data, enables real-time, in-store price adjustments. 
  • The strategy aims to proactively offer customers the lowest possible prices, enhancing in-store value perception. 
  • Digital pricing signage simplifies customer communication, promoting transparency and trust in pricing strategies. 
  • Maintaining competitive pricing is essential to mitigate the risk of consumers finding lower prices elsewhere post-purchase. 
  • Evaluating the lifetime value of a customer is crucial in understanding the long-term benefits of aggressive pricing strategies. 
  • In markets with extensive product ranges, such as over 3.5 million items, prioritizing sales performance is key to managing product visibility and competitiveness. 
  • Continuous monitoring and updating of product groups based on sales performance data allows for an effective communication strategy with both customers and competitors. 

Maximizing Retail Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction 

The landscape of retail is undergoing a transformation, with technology and data analytics at its core. The key to thriving in this dynamic environment is not just in adapting to change but in leading it. Retailers who invest in understanding their customers, leveraging technological advancements for seamless operations, and ensuring competitive pricing strategies are positioned to excel.  

The future of retail lies in creating an ecosystem that values customer experience above all else. This involves a holistic approach that encompasses everything from logistics and inventory management to in-store experience and online engagement. 

Retailers must therefore see every challenge as an opportunity to innovate and every technological advancement as a tool to enhance customer satisfaction. The integration of digital tools should not be viewed as just a response to unprecedented times but as a strategic advantage that can drive growth, improve efficiency, and foster a culture of continuous improvement. Brands that recognize these imperatives are the ones that will not just survive but thrive in the fast-evolving retail space.  

For more insights from our customer panels, check out the other blogs in this series: 

Laptop mockup illustration

Better decisions can only come from better data.

Contact Us Today
CTA Decoration Image 1 CTA Decoration Image 2