white paper: leading retail organizations today

By in Insights and O.C. Tanner Institute
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Understanding how retailers are expanding their global footprint, the implications e-commerce is having on retail, and how critical supply chain management has become are crucial issues impacting retailers today. Equally as crucial are the employees whom retailers must rely on to differentiate in a competitive market and solve the challenges facing the industry as a whole.

1. Challenge: Expansion.

As developed markets become more saturated, a retailer’s ability to embrace new markets will largely determine their success. As the middle-class grows in the emerging markets of Latin America and Asia-Pacific, retailers are finding success by expanding rapidly into these markets. All the while retail is expanding their current markets through acquiring or partnering with non-traditional retail services, such as health clinics, in an overall strategy to attract time-savvy customers away from competitors.

Opportunity: Expanding into new markets is difficult – especially when there are local or cultural nuances. Engaging employee feedback loops is an easy way retailers can utilize employees to provide actionable insights to overcome some of the challenges in expansion.

2. Challenge: E-Commerce.

There is no question that e-commerce is growing; however, even with explosive growth, it is important to remember that online retail sales are estimated to make up less than 10% of all retail sales by 2018. Expect online-only retailers, such as Amazon in the United States and Zalora in Southeast Asia, to continue their expansion into brick-and-mortar locations. Additionally, look for in-store retailers to aggressively expand their online presence.

Opportunity: Retailers face the challenge of creating teams meant to disrupt the online vertical while at the same time linking those groups into core operations – two very different cultures. Focusing on employee recognition can be an effective tool ensure good work relationships across different working cultures.

3. Challenge: Supply Chain Management.

Consumers are increasingly using multiple channels during the buying cycle – using online and in-store collectively to make a buying decision. Therefore, retailers must make the shopping experience seamless across platforms by having full visibility into stock and distribution. This requires a firm understanding of supply chain and how new product lines will impact everything from production, distribution, and final sale.

Opportunity: Solving complicated supply chain management will require innovative and engaged employees.  Rewarding innovative employees can pay dividends. Those who receive strong recognition are 33% more likely to proactively innovating and generate 2x as many ideas per month compared to those who aren’t recognized well.

These are just a few of the examples explored in the O.C. Tanner Institute’s latest industry report. Download the full report for more insights, ideas, industry best practices and more.

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