business news in context, analysis with attitude

A new survey of leading retailers has been released, saying that it pinpoints “key strategies and best practices” that will help retailers differentiate themselves in the current, highly competitive environment. The identified critical factors include:

• “Focus on the shopper, not the product.” The focus here is to use advanced techniques that will “deliver targeted offers including email and website offers.”

• Private Label. The report says that “while more retailers are focusing on private brand offerings in light of the current economic environment, over 75% of study participants don’t feel they are using concepts effectively as a differentiator.”

• Effective use of price and space optimization tools. Two-thirds of those surveyed said price optimization is top-of-mind, though less than half of those who said so had experience in this area for three years or more. Only 50 percent of those surveyed said that they were utilizing space optimization tools, even as they were saying that they were important.

• Don't try to be all things – quality, promotions, variety, service, price, etc… - to all people. Rather, it is best to focus on one or two things and achieve excellence in those areas.

The survey was conducted by Karabus Management and Willard Bishop.

Other related findings from the report:

• “75% of retailers surveyed said they were over-SKU’d because they were attempting to meet the needs of everyone, rather than offering a focused assortment for their specific customer base.”

• “Only 29% of leading retailers are using advanced promotional strategies based on customers’ wants and needs as opposed to relying on weekly ad and vendor driven promotions.”

• “17% of leading retailers have formalized collaboration structures with suppliers that outline specific responsibilities and focus on mutual shopper wins with collaborative product development around customer needs.”

KC's View:
It is sort of interesting that the survey identifies priorities that even some of those “leading retailers” who participated say that they are not embracing, even if they know they should.

It either says something about how hard it is to do business in the current environment, or something about how we define leadership in the modern grocery industry.

Or maybe both.