Post COVID-19: How to prioritise your in-store initiatives

May 20, 2020

Olga Kotsur

Mercaux Founder & CEO

You may have seen that over the course of the last few weeks our team here at Mercaux have been hosting webinars centred around the premise of how retailers can Respond, Recover and Reimagine post-COVID ("3R"). We covered the initiatives across three major business areas - Staff, Stock, and Stores ("3S").

We touched on topics relating to the future role of the sales associate, tackling overstock, creating the store of the future and much more. If you have missed any of these please feel free to catch up on the webinars and blogs via our COVID-19 resource centre. A recording of the executive summary webinar can be found at the bottom of this blog post.

3R-3S-Infographic-V2-1

As a whole, we understand that currently retail and IT teams are under increasing amounts of pressure, and as such, are overwhelmed – their desire for change isn’t helped either by limited budgets and resources. The challenge retailers are facing at this particular moment is answering the question "where to start".

The simple “initiatives matrix” framework, which we deep dive into below, can help retailers to channel their ideas and aid them in their journey to identify best which initiatives to focus on for their business at this time.

 

The Initiatives Matrix - How to prioritise?

 

 

The above axis sees initiatives measured on whether it will be a short term benefit or long term strategic direction along with the ease of implementation. The key message of this matrix is finding the right balance. Finding what works for you and your business and of course your funds. Due to the pressing nature of the today's retail world - we feel it best to scrap the standard "cost-benefit" analysis of weighing up options of low-effect vs high-effect or if it’s easy or hard, simply because time is of the essence. Our suggestion is to implement a timeline approach of asking - when will you see those benefits.

 

If you feel you have an easy to implement solution, that gives you only benefits in the long run, for the time being what we suggest is that you don’t have to kill the idea but can simply park it.  Adding to this, if you have any long term strategic plans which fall into future-proofing the company such as creating a new store format  or changing your OMS or e-commerce platform etc we feel it best to keep working on this as it is a benefit to you long term (on the assumption you have the funds to do so and the team won't be distracted from implementing the urgent initiatives required for business survival).

 

Finding quick wins that pave the way towards the store of the future

 

Given the pressure and nature of the situation right now what we feel you and your business should focus on are initiatives which provide you with quick wins and yet are easy to implement. Dealing with the here and now. These can range for maximising your staff productivity, enabling new in-store scenarios or growing your omni-channel presence and capabilities.

But - at the crux of this, the technologies which you implement in the short term can manifest into long term strategies.

How? Why? You may ask. Well, this is due to the fact that many retailers have been bogged down by legacy systems and a tonne of tech debt which has burdened and blocked them from innovating. This is why we are of the belief that quick wins can help provide a platform for longer-term strategic success. Of course, there are immediate short term plans which sometimes do not play out long term either such as discounting or temporarily overstock management. 

Moving forward there are a range of initiatives which implemented for short term gain can aid recovery and reinvention long-term. Implementing a host of new shop-floor tech upgrades can help free up time for under-pressure sales associates who can then utilise their new tools to aid in providing a superior personalised service which results in clients with a longer LTV. So as a whole our core message to you is to focus on the initiatives that can deliver immediate value and generate cash without massive re-platforming while paving the way towards the store of the future.

We hosted an executive summary webinar where we covered each topic in more detail. You can view a recording of this webinar here:

 

We thank you for your time and patience and if you have any further questions or inquiries please do get in touch with our team!

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