Retail disruption: scenarios and potential reactions. Physical Retailers: which levers to face on-line challenge and the key role of better knowing the shoppers
Retail is experiencing a period of deep change, the Digital Disruption, as half a century ago was the creation in Italy of Modern Trade, and 2 decades ago the beginning of the massive development of category killers. However, this drastic change is growing at unprecedented pace: we are experiencing a neat increase in online propositions, Amazon (and overall the on-line companies) is developing in a disruptive way, consumer habits are changing and pressure on prices and margins is growing. It is key to have clear ideas. Today, traditional retailers cannot wait or take time; they must promptly face the situation. Depending on the specific Retail Sector, consequences, times, and reaction modes of players might differ; but considering the delicate economic equilibrium characterizing the overall market, a prompt action becomes a strategic priority for everyone. The underlying questions are: “How should I evolve? In which direction? What can I practically and pragmatically do in order to secure a patrimony of relationships built with consumers over time?” The potential answer to these questions are often subject of public opinion discussion since there is no answer that is univocal, applied, replicable, and scalable. The speech wants to give food for thoughts, potential paths to put in action, based on our experience in supporting the players in the national and international arena, along with multiple talks with Top Management of these same enterprises. These actions and paths are heavily dependent on a deep knowledge and understanding of consumers and ongoing developments; this knowledge, if adequately exploited, will enable traditional retailers to play a relevant role, understanding the consumers that intrinsically still “love shopping”.
Alfredo Grasselli is a Partner in Bain & Company Milan’s Office. He is a member of the Consumer Goods and Retail practice. He has 20 years of consulting experience with Bain working with executives in Consumer Goods, Retail and Pharma sector on key topics, from strategy to performance improvement. He has supported both family-owned businesses and executives on corporate governance topics. Prior to joining Bain, Alfredo worked for the Cerruti Group as CFO and for Nestlè, as Group Treasurer. Aside the consulting activity, he has developed a teaching activity in business school and writing activity in Strategy, Corporate Governance and Corporate Finance issues: Author of Manual of Corporate Finance, Il Sole 24 Ore, (April 1999; March 2007); Author of Value management, Il Sole 24 Ore, (March 2001). Alfredo earned a degree in Business Administration at the Bocconi University in Milan.
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