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01/04/2016

Why They Matter

This month’s cover story is entitled “The Five Retailers That Matter.” When we sat down to come up with the five industry-leading retailers to include on the list we quickly found out that we had our work cut out for us.

We debated the innovative technology being deployed across the industry, the continuously evolving marketplace and the current demands of the omnichannel shopper and came up with a short list of which retailers we thought are truly driving the industry forward. After some more internal discussion we figured we could use a little help and reached out to some outside analysts for feedback and to help finalize the list.

This is the second time we have produced this feature. Two years ago we named Amazon, Apple, Macy’s, Target and Walmart as the five retailers that matter. While no one would argue with the inclusion of these retailing giants in this year’s list, we decided to disqualify those already named in favor of some new blood.

The great thing about features of this kind is that they are conversation starters. Just as the editors of RIS News sat around agonizing over who should be included, we invite you to do the same. Feel free to drop us a line and let us know your list of the retailers that truly matter and help keep the discussion going.

An in-depth look at the five retailers we chose can be found beginning on page 10, but here is a quick glance at this year’s crop of retailers that matter:

Best Buy. The electronics retailer was going nowhere fast just four short years ago. But it has quickly pulled a 180 thanks to a renewed focus on digital growth, the customer experience, and improved relationships with its vendors and has emerged as the segment leader.

GameStop. You would be hard-pressed to find a customer base more engaged than GameStop’s. Thanks to its highly successful PowerUp rewards program the retailer has volumes of valuable shopper data and is leveraging it to guide various strategic initiatives.

Kroger. On sheer size alone the largest supermarket chain in the U.S. is worthy of inclusion in this list. But Kroger is more than just big; it is an innovative leader that is quickly and seamlessly meeting shopper demand in the evolving grocery market.

Nordstrom. The department store chain might be over 100 years old, but it is innovating at a pace that would make most retailers born after the new millennium green with envy.

Walgreens. Retailers often speak about the difficulty of building true consumer loyalty in the omnichannel age, but Walgreens has found a way. Thanks to a slew of new digital initiatives the drug store chain is setting the standard for shopper loyalty.