Retailers: Know Your Competition

By Rob Heidt, Practice Director

Know your competition.  It’s an imperative that rings true today more so than ever before.  The speed of communication has created the opportunity for a business to turn on a dime.  

A retailer’s competition used to be the brick-and-mortar down the street or across the plaza in the local mall.  Today it’s the internet giants (Amazon, Alibaba, etc.) of the world.  They represent a new and distinct threat to traditional retailers: they don’t have the costs of maintaining a brick-and-mortar presence, they gain economies of scale, and they sell through the preferred media of Millennials and Gen Z’s.

PWC’s recent Global Consumer Insights survey found that Amazon’s influence is deeply felt—28% of participants said they shop less frequently at retail stores, 18% shop less often at other retail websites, and 10% reported that they now shop exclusively at Amazon. Savvy retailers are prepared to deal with this threat or suffer the fate of any number of former retail powerhouses who were unable to keep up with the shifting e-commerce landscape.

For retailers, the top two expenses on the ledger are inventory and people. Talent is a sine qua non for any retailer; it’s a required investment in the future success of the organization. With regards to inventory, the focus must be on optimizing  inventory levels in such a way that will maintain customer service and yet minimize the inventory levels.  This equilibrium between inventory levels and customer service levels seems to be an impossibly delicate balance to attain.  Raised inventory levels meant raised customer service; lower inventory levels meant lower customer service—right? 

Not necessarily—Vaco has a proven track record of implementing software that both minimizes inventory levels while maintaining or even increasing customer service levels. If you’re interested in learning more about optimizing your supply chain, contact us today for more information.