OW Industry: Retail & Consumer Goods

Retail

Retail is a tough business, and it is getting tougher. Our clients are facing disruption from online retailers, experience specialists, and hard discount business models – all while consumers continue to be under economic pressure.

The combination of the disruptive new formats and consumers under pressure has resulted in consumers who are more demanding of their retailers and more willing to pick and choose what they want from multiple sources.  This kind of pressure means that the gap between winning retailers and losing retailers is growing.

In these challenging times, we work with our clients to navigate to growth and fund that growth with efficiency.  We work with our clients ‘hands on’ delivering insights and impact.  We go beyond changing the client at a moment in time to jointly building capabilities that will stand the test of time.  We achieve these goals based on a deep understanding of both the ‘science’ and the ‘art’ of great retailers.

Strategic Transformation

Many of our clients have business models that are under extreme pressure.  We work with our clients to define a vision for the future and a roadmap to achieve that vision.  We then partner with our clients to support the parts of that journey where they need our capabilities and skills most heavily.  Our transformation work ranges from intentional turnaround programs to lever by lever programs that evolve into transformations over time.  These programs change the long-term trajectory of the business over several years, delivering outsized returns to owners and a meaningfully upgraded proposition to customers.

Merchandising, Procurement, and Marketing

Merchandising, procurement, and marketing are at the heart of many of the key elements of the customer proposition.  We have deep experience working with these teams on pricing, promotions, loyalty, targeted marketing, assortment, category strategy, private brands, and negotiations.  Our work combines rich analytics with a hands-on approach to joint problem solving, resulting in sustainable impact.  Where appropriate, we also include our proprietary enterprise grade tools to drive a higher level of sustainability and analytical sophistication.

Operations and Supply Chain

Operators are at the heart of delivering the customer experience.  The business models required to win introduce more complexity for operators and supply chain at a time when customer service is more important than ever.  We work with our clients to drive change at the store level.  To achieve sustainable impact, we build tools for operators that give them the right information to make better decisions at the time they need it in a format they can digest.  We support our tools with change management that builds momentum and sustains the impact.  Beyond the four walls of the store, we work with our supply chain clients to understand the end to end impact of their decisions on customers and stores, devising plans to drive upgraded outcomes across levers ranging from inventory planning to supply chain efficiency.

Formats, Real Estate, and Capital Planning

With disruptors on the horizon, many of our clients are working to upgrade or reinvent their store format.  We work with our clients to design formats with a winning customer proposition, supported by a financially viable operating model, executed at the locations that are best suited for the design.  For clients who are already in progress on format design or refresh, we work with them to optimize real estate, feature selection, and re-model efficiency.  Many of our clients also find that growth in ecommerce or new formats means they may need to close existing stores.  We work with our clients to help them understand, site by site, where investment is warranted to turn around a store and when closure is the best option.

Financial Visibility and Control

Retail is detail.  The final financial results are a product of thousands of decisions by hundreds of people.  As a result, forecasting and governing the business can be challenging for finance leadership and executive leadership.  We work with our clients to break down key financial metrics into the components that drive those metrics.  We then build financial reporting and forecasting that translates directly to needed actions.

Tools and Systems

In a world of increased complexity, our clients increasingly need software to sustain the strategic changes they want to make.  However, much of the software available to retailers is worse than the free apps they have on their smart phones.  We build software that is designed with a deep understanding of how merchants, marketers, and operators work.  We deliver that software through a user interface that looks more like a smart phone app than a typical retail application.  Finally, we work with IT to deliver world-class support and hosting, ensuring sustainability.

Organization and People

People are at the heart of competitive advantage in business today.  Our experience working with retailers on people and organizational challenges ranges from jointly building the team required to deliver a new capability to holistically changing the structure of the organization to deliver against the strategy.  

Retail Insights