The Unified Retailing 2019 Conference hosted by Columbus Consulting yesterday was energizing, as it’s always a fun to meet up with our customers, old colleagues and friends. The speakers were excellent, with frank and interesting conversations around how to win in today’s new retail environment. However, what really struck me throughout the event was the fact that everyone—and I mean everyone—appeared to be dealing with the same type of challenges, such as:
- How to support an environment where store sales are dropping, e-commerce is flattening, and mobile continues to grow
- How to win in an environment where there are so many store closures, but just as many store openings from digitally-native brands
- How to support the “shop anywhere” experience consumers demand
- How to keep product, experiences and services relevant
As every speaker discussed different strategies to address each issue, it became apparent over the course of the day these problems haven’t really changed over the last few years. In fact, they’ve only magnified. Despite these struggles, it only solidified my belief—and that of many others in the room—of the following:
If you want to be relevant, you must consider the customer and their preferences first in everything you do.