In May, we held our IDEA 2018 thought leadership summit, where the theme was Under Fire | On Fire. The event highlighted struggles in the retail sector, and also acknowledged brands that are having great success during these transformative times. Themes like rekindling growth, using technology to turn up the heat, and innovating to ignite business resonated with participants from a wide range of industries, including food and beverage.
With the number of store closings and bankruptcies today, it’s common to hear people say retail is dead or dying. Target CEO Brian Cornell, however, gave a keynote speech at IDEA 2018 in which he highlighted retail’s ongoing transformation. Today’s retailers need to work even harder to solve consumers’ needs; those who fail will be left behind. Physical stores today are both showrooms and fulfillment centers, and they’re the key to unlocking the “last mile” in retail, Cornell said.
Food retailers are in a similar situation when we consider U.S. consumers’ changing meal habits. With the rise in meal kits and online grocery shopping, the physical store needs to rethink its purpose for consumers. Technology allows consumers to expect solutions rather than mere products when shopping online or offline. Stores will need to show, for example, how they help solve the nightly “What’s for dinner?” dilemma in households across the country. The store can become a solution center that showcases ways to use the foods and beverages in the stores rather than simply an outlet for selling products.
It’s more important than ever for your brand to be available anywhere a consumer might be. Our Retail President, Don Unser, said at IDEA 2018, “We’ve reached an inflection point with retailer dot-com entities. Growth numbers are high, but you have to be available to your customers on all channels, on an equal footing. Good retailers need to be good everywhere.” Unser’s comments underscore the pressing need for manufacturers and retailers to work together to develop omnichannel strategies that benefit each other, and most importantly, that benefit the consumer – it’s about providing extra convenience in the way consumers procure their foods.
New ideas and innovation often come with risks, but a reigning theme at IDEA 2018 was about recovering from failure. Of course steps should be taken to mitigate risks, but if failure occurs, let it happen quickly, learn from it, and then move on to the next opportunity. Don’t let one failure ruin your drive for innovation.
As always, we’re here to share data and insights to help you whether your brand is under fire or on fire in the transforming food and beverage landscape.