“Retail is in an age of disruption and we’re in a period where the old rules don’t apply anymore,” said Steve Sadove, former president and chief executive of US retailer Saks, at today’s World Retail Congress.
Sadove outlined his top 10 ‘disruptors’ to the old ways of retailing, including onmichannel and the blurring of the lines between physical and digital.
He referenced the fact that many US retailers are no longer reporting online sales, but just sales regardless of which platform they come from. He also pointed out that “about 70-75% of consumers use mobile in some form to affect their buying decision”.
Other disruptors include price transparency and cyber security, as well as the changing consumer demographic.
In this context, Sadove said the number one thing retailers must continue to invest in is talent. He said: “Retail is one of the most complicated businesses out there and the requirements are fundamentally different to what they once were.
“Retailers need to attract the right talent and keep them by creating an environment where people want to make a career.”
Sadove concluded his presentation by reminding retailers that, despite the changing environment, the key factors for a successful retailer remain the same.
“No matter what changes we see, fundamentally what matters for a retailer is the products you sell and the level of service you provide. It’s simply about being able to do what the shopkeeper used to do – understanding the customers’ needs on a one-to-one basis.”