What Would You Change?
Retail’s embrace of the customer-centric model has forced the industry to evolve at a breakneck pace. Retailers are experimenting with new products, services and shopper experiences to ensure they win the hearts and minds of an increasingly fickle consumer base.
Despite amplified innovation efforts, many believe the industry is not advancing quick enough.
For RIS’ second annual Influentials: Top 10 Movers and Shakers in Retail feature we asked all of the honorees: “If you could change one thing about the retail industry what would it be?” Surprisingly, the majority of responses called for an increase in innovation efforts. Our Movers and Shakers believe the industry has yet to fully embrace the imperative for change, and must increase its IT spend on critical innovation to stay ahead of the curve and build the shopper-focused industry of tomorrow.
Below is a quick look at our Influentials’ responses. For a more in depth look at the careers and accomplishments of these industry-leading executives check out the full Movers and Shakers feature article here.
Chief Technology Officer, Rent the Runway
"I would like to instill more risk-taking around expanding the concept of what “retail” is. There is a tremendous opportunity to touch people with retail and to meet them on their terms. This can only be achieved if the norms are disrupted."
Co-President, SAP Industries
"I would change the way retailers view failure and innovation, and encourage them to embrace risk through a “fail fast” mindset. A lot of start-ups are having success with this as a way to incubate innovations within the current company structure. This approach has a proven track record of helping companies harness the potential of the changes surrounding them, and it could be a very beneficial approach in the retail industry. It’s not about purposely failing, but about experimenting in a high-speed learning feedback loop. Consumer preferences are evolving at lightning speed and retailers must find ways to keep pace."
Founder & President, Retail Prophet
"I would like to change the willingness of retail leaders to embrace uncertainty and change. Without a willingness to challenge the status quo and embrace the uncertainty that lies outside its bounds, true innovation is impossible."
Founder and CEO, Xcel Brands
"The department store channel will continue to be challenged if it does not eliminate vendor margin guaranty programs. This way of doing business is not sustainable. This is the first thing that I would like to see changed in retail. If we bring back the concept of accountability, we will see innovation at its best. We all know that necessity is the mother of all invention."
Chief Business Officer, Instacart
"The main change I wish to see in the retail industry is the very change Instacart is working on: retailers must come online to compete with major e-commerce players. Specifically, the time has come for groceries to move online. It's the last retail category that's left."
Principal, Cathy Hotka & Associates
"Its insistence on cheating the IT department. Every retail company is now a technology company. Restricting IT to just a few percentage points of revenue is really shortsighted. If Amazon is spending 8% of gross on IT, why isn’t everyone else?"
Vice President, Digital Partnerships and Shopper Marketing, Albertsons
"Increased diversity in leadership roles – women in particular are exiting the industry at an alarming rate. It has been proven that diverse leadership teams perform better – we need to make it a priority to support and sponsor ways to improve the workplace and paths to leadership roles."
SVP and GM, Oracle Retail
"The retail industry is facing a bit of a personality crisis. There’s a false perception that retailers are innovation laggards when the reality is the industry adapts to change at a much faster pace than its peers. Outsiders believe that retailers are victims waiting for a formidable competitor to strike, which isn’t true. They are putting up a vigorous defense by focusing on refining their omnichannel strategies and delivering a better experience for customers."
Founder & CEO, Coresight Research
"Retailers need to think more outside of the box to experience improvement inside of the box."