Reflecting on a year like no other and planning for the next… What to do when the numbers are so distorted?
I never would have thought when I arrived at the airport in San Francisco on March 6, 2020 that it would be my last flight for the year and well into 2021. Who could have possibly imagined that we were on the precipice of a 100-year pandemic of epic proportion wreaking havoc on our industry? As painful as it’s been, is this what we needed for retail to reset and reinvent? I think, Yes. And there’s more change to come, as the customers shift to digital is forcing the channels to act as one. The shift we’ve seen is never going back. Most retailers have met this shift with flexibility and resilience that had all but disappeared in recent years.
So, with all this change, how do I plan for 2021 when in 2020 decisions were made on the fly, and 2019 is a lifetime ago? In 2020, we had no idea what would happen the following week much less the following month. Some of those decisions paid off – others, not so much. Use your data to Find the hidden gems from the Covid era… Filter the Results – Review and React – and be flexible. Through that lens it’s important to remember that some 2020 numbers are meaningful, others less so. Understand which products in your assortment your customers love, which promotions are their best call to action and how you can delight your most loyal and profitable customers in ways that bring joy or make their lives easier. Use your data to drive actionable insights that will delight your customer.
How? Break the planning paradigm and keep looking forward.
Pre-Covid, the focus was on channel, comps and anniversary-ing product. The assumption was the customer would come to shop channels and products as they had in the past. I don’t need to say that’s no longer true. I contend this strong tether to last year was strangling the business with a look backward mindset. Looking forward to what’s possible is fuel for the business.
But how? Supply chains have been disrupted so 2020’s assortments aren’t what everyone hoped. Channels have shifted, the competitive landscape has changed, and customers’ wants and needs bear no resemblance to 2019. There are two levers to pull; customer (keeping your current ones and acquiring new ones) and product (offering unique, high value, brand right product that will activate those customers). Our clients can identify which products in their assortment their customers love most, which products attract new customers, appeal to their high profit customers, and even nudge existing customers to make another purchase.
Driving to action, we’ve been living in the trenches with our clients, helping them navigate this tumultuous change. The insights we deliver by leveraging our clients’ daily data has enabled them to accelerate and scale in ways they did not think possible - driving their businesses forward and allowing them to make the most of this monumental shift.