Perspectives

Retail execution­

The new differentiator

Execution in retail has never been easy. It is difficult to achieve consistency across thousands of stores, not to mention train, retain, and motivate thousands of hourly associates of varying ages and skills. Moreover, recent economic and technological disruptions are making it especially challenging for retailers to execute on their strategic objectives. Surviving and coming out on top in an increasingly competitive industry will require not only a differentiated strategy, but also execution and performance. By being aware of the changes mandated by the new retail landscape and addressing common pitfalls, retailers can position themselves for execution success.

Execution – The No.1 differentiator

Ninety percent of organizations fail to effectively execute their strategies and realize the full benefits of their efforts and, in an increasingly complex retail environment with intense competition and limited resources, execution has become the No.1 differentiator. The most common execution pitfalls encountered by retailers are:

  • Insufficient talent management – Attracting and retaining top talent and training staff to maintain a consistent level of service is difficult in a geographically dispersed retail chain.
  • Inadequate performance metrics – Measuring progress against execution goals can be challenging without metrics that are aligned to the new retail reality where sales are distributed across multiple interdependent channels.
  • Organizational misalignment - Too often retailers recognize that changes need to be made, but by the time they align the organization, the world has changed and they must adjust again.

Keys to execution success

Successful execution of strategies and programs is an iterative and rigorous process. Clear and open communication to support and empower associates at every stage of the process is paramount to its success. Important steps that retailers should consider when executing on a strategy include:

  • Identifying the necessary skills and recruiting the right talent
  • Training and developing associates
  • Measuring and evaluating the efficacy of programs
  • Intervening and adjusting when needed
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