The Economy Is Shifting: Prepare To Run Lean To Compete In The Consumer Products And Retail Industry

Matt Wilkinson

Business conditions in the retail industry remain competitive despite economic challenges and lifestyle changes for Australian consumers. With consumers finishing their Christmas shopping, retailers are likely to experience a slower period due to tighter household spending.

Lifestyle factors, such as increasing fuel prices, cost of living expenses, and mortgage interest rates, as well as low-wage growth and a static employment rate, make it difficult for the average household to spend during the holidays.

With consumers digging into their savings or opting for credit cards to support spending, retailers marketing to new or existing customer bases need to offer more than slashed prices to meet their business bottom line.

Since the Australian economy is fuelled by the consumer products and retail industry, decreases in household spending have implications for the economy at large.

The best run lean

Deloitte’s Retailers’ Christmas Survey 2018 shows that retailers predict a 10% increase in online sales and expect 90% of their sales during Christmas to be made in brick-and-mortar stores. Deloitte suggests that the confidence of many surveyed retailers about sales during the Christmas season is a direct result of digital investments made last year. For retailers aiming to implement practical solutions to boost sales, emerging technologies will play a vital role in improving customer experience and ensuring a profitable year. Organizations need to be as efficient and automated as possible to run lean and adapt to economic shifts. More than ever, retailers should focus on optimizing their operations early.

Remaining competitive in a shifting economy

While some retailers still operate with legacy software, scalable technologies are invaluable to the retail industry, especially during sales peaks, such as the holiday season.

Retrieving real-time customer insights and data analytics and targeting customers across channels optimizes the customer buying journey both in-store and online.

Retailers considering a digital transformation can look to the automation of manual processes and stock accuracy as ways to improve both customer and employee experience. The new digital economy is disruptive, and combined with less disposable income for the average Australian, retailers should be capitalizing on end-to-end systems catering to the segment of one, customer-centricity, digital supply chains, smart stores, and promoting and monetizing new customer offers.

Prepare to run lean with technology

This Christmas period impacts retailers in a shifting economy. Competing in this environment demands greater focus on customer-centricity. Understanding, personalizing, and utilizing valuable data insights to enhance customer experience enables retailers to sell products that their customers need while running lean and focusing on the bottom line.

Supply chain and logistics play a critical role in satisfying modern customers’ expectations. See “Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa … And Free Shipping … And One-Hour Delivery.”

Matt Wilkinson

About Matt Wilkinson

Matt Wilkinson is the General Manager, Consumer Industries for SAP ANZ. Having operational roles in consumer industries organisations combined with 20+ years of professional services in both delivery and sales roles with cloud and on premise solutions, provide him with a unique insight to help organisations achieve effective digital transformation.