The top objective for retailers in 2012 is to raise profits without selling more items, according to Bjorn Weber from Planet Retail. Not any easy thing to pull off but I think that it’s an excellent objective to test every business decision against. If an action does not help you achieve this objective either don’t do it, or do it differently.
Retailers have moved on from just cutting costs. The obvious reductions have already been made and some cost cutting actually damages profitability, particularly where it negatively affects customers. Almost all the retailers that we have spoken to are now willing to make investments to achieve their top objective.
Where are investments being made?
The most talked about categories are mobile and ecommerce but there are two other significant categories. The first is Checkouts. This ranges from queue busting by taking orders on the shop floor with iPads and smart phones to vastly simpler self service and more automated checkouts.  The second category is Optimisation.  Retailers are reviewing a number of major activities and asking the question. “Can we make it better for customers, easier for staff and cheaper for us?”
My next blog will focus on areas where Optimisation can make a big difference.