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Welcome to The Merchant Life, for retailers and retail enthusiasts wanting the insider perspective of all things retail.

Whether retailers liked it or not – lessons have been learned over the past two years. Curve balls thrown from every direction and inherent weaknesses became exposed.

The most glaring lesson in all of this?

Retailers can’t keep working in the same way – outdated methods don’t fit in today’s market.

By simplifying ways of working through digital transformation and implementing new technologies that didn’t exist pre-pandemic👇🏽

Retailers are meeting their customers where they want to engage with brands.

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Meet you in Meta!

But what does this mean for the way retailers have been working…and their teams?

If retailers enabled more technology than ever, where did this leave their teams and how will org structures change?

Let’s dive in.

Retail Predictions 2022: The New Org

Some fun facts:

  1. Retailers take 52 weeks or longer to get a product from concept to creation to market.
  2. All product is created equally and with the same effort, using the same concept to market (C2M) calendar, no matter the product complexity.
  3. Category skillsets are not leveraged throughout the organization.
  4. Retailers overdevelop, rely heavily on physical samples and have too many prototype iterations.
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These facts are NOT fun 🤦🏽‍♀️

Ways of working today are time consuming, inefficient, unsustainable and expensive.

Further, the teams today are bogged down and cannot keep pace with the ever-evolving customer.

This is summarized in the diagram below:

Teams work in a linear model and in distinct silos. Categories are separated even further with limited opportunities to engage and share ideas. Bottlenecks and barriers such as excessive approval hierarchies and process owners that prohibit cross-collaboration.

Product-centric mindsets vs. customer centricity are driving the organization.

Here’s what I’m predicting will happen to current org structures:.

Team dynamics will change, upskilling will be a necessity, and collaboration will be the thread that holds the entire org together.

Most importantly, the customer will be in the center of decision making.

The future C2M model could be showcased as follows:

All processes and methodologies start with the customer in the middle. Partnerships are critical from vendors to brands to innovators, building deep insight and understanding of the customer to delight them with product and experiences.

🧵 Rigid silos will be eliminated, simplifying cross-collaboration from merchandising, planning and product creation to factories, retail and brand partners, to innovation and technology market leaders.

🧵 New org structures will be customer-centric, supported by specialized product skillsets and a data center of excellence, marrying art and science of optimized assortment creation.

🧵 Accelerating speed to market through collaboration and simplification enabled by technology and less layers of hierarchy.

Creating product with purpose is critical.

Removing friction for teams is essential.

Great diagram!

But HOW is this actually going to work???

Good question…

As retailers and brands invest in new ways of working by enabling the right digital tools centered around the customer, teams will invest more time in becoming customer strategists.

👉🏽 Predictive analytics, machine learning, and eliminating manual ways of working will give teams time to focus on customer-centricity and product.

By empowering the right skill sets that assist in marrying art and science, creating hyper-connected assortments through data driven insights will build deeper customer relationships.

👉🏽 Using 3D printing and digital twins to eliminate physical sampling, solving product challenges quickly, efficiently and responsibly.

By eliminating redundancies and simplifying processes is critical in getting faster to market while focussing on creating the right product at the right time and in the right place.

👉🏽 Rethink vendor relationships by empowering factories to fit & test product. Allow more time for creation and innovation.

Reimagining and reinventing planning, merchandising and product creation teams and processes IS the future of retail.

Big News

Less than 100 retail experts across the globe were chosen by RETHINK Retail as Top Retail Influencers for 2022.

Drumroll please…I made the list! 🏆

🔊 Thank you RETHINK Retail and the retail community! #humbled