Retail Advisor Newsletter

Quarterly Newsletter

Autumn 2016


Now that autumn is fully upon us, kids are back in school, and we welcome the cooler weather and vibrant foliage that comes with the season, many of us also turn our attention, weekend plans and casual conversations to our favorite football teams. This change of seasons always makes me think of the 1993 film Rudy, the story of the life of Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, who dreamt about playing football at the University of Notre Dame despite significant challenges. Rudy's patience, determination and perseverance throughout his struggle to first be accepted to the University and then ultimately play football for the Fighting Irish are not unlike some of the challenges we are seeing today in the retail industry.

Many retailers have experienced less than stellar results this year, which can be attributed to a variety of factors, such as the ubiquity of shopping options, precarious consumer confidence due to social, global and political factors, and even the continued morphing of the industry as it embraces the digital age from many different fronts. We have all seen the prevalence of the mobile channel and its immense impact on shopping behaviors, as well as mobile's potential to streamline corporate functions such as merchandising, product development and marketing. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that a strong underlying technology foundation is absolutely critical before embarking on initiatives that address the latest trends.

Without a doubt, all retailers and solution providers must keep a close watch on emerging trends to ensure they stay relevant and can enable exceptional shopping experiences. However, our experience has shown that companies must first get their proverbial houses in order and build a solid foundation in order to successfully capitalize on these developments. We are continuing to advise our clients to hold firm with their strategies and persevere the cyclical downturns in this year's market.

In Rudy's story, he experienced countless rejections and setbacks during his quest to achieve his dreams, but he remained resolute in his studies and in tenaciously contributing to the Irish on the scout team for fundamental practice drills. Similarly, we believe in recommending a sound strategy that is based on the tenets of listening to and delighting customers, improving operational performance, and seeking financially profitable initiatives. We find our clients appreciate our pragmatic approach and the thoughtful recommendations that provide value over time and do not succumb to 'easy' decisions to change course or shift focus due to a stormy forecast.

While assessing your foundation and existing business environment, there are often opportunities to weave in innovative processes and technologies. For example, you may be shoring up your basic pricing execution, but also incorporating elements of consumer specific promotions. Further, even in the wake of numerous store closures announced this year, we believe the brick-and-mortar channel is still very important, but it must be strategically intertwined into your overall brand strategy. A solid assessment of processes, policies, roles and responsibilities of existing store operations, customer service, inventory management, merchandising and other customer touchpoints can reveal many opportunities to engage and delight your customers, augment store associate satisfaction and effectiveness, as well as preserve and even strengthen brick-and-mortar relevancy.

Despite graduating from Georgia Tech, I have to admit that seeing a victorious Rudy get carried off the field by his Irish teammates at the end of the movie is indeed a moment to remember. The scene is less a celebration of the win over the Jackets than it is a tribute to the young athlete's perseverance and ultimate personal success. We are confident that those retailers that focus on getting the fundamentals right will be positioned for success in 2017 and for years to come.

Robert Kaufman
CEO, The Parker Avery Group

Thought Leadership

Retail Legacy Systems:
Enhancing the Value of Retail Solution Implementations

Despite the best strategic initiatives and promises of customer experience and omnichannel nirvana, many retailers are technologically hamstrung: trying to add modern, configurable and mobile tools on top of outdated and inflexible software...

Enhancing mCommerce Capabilities an
Customer Experience:

Key Considerations

As the mobile channel is largely becoming the initial and often primary platform for individuals to connect with a brand, retailers must consider several key factors to enhance the customer mobile experience as well as the overall brand perception...

New Case Study

PLM Selection PLM Solution Assessment and Selection
Holistic evaluation of Product Lifecycle Management solutions and deployment planning to support a highly unique product development environment and culture...

And don't miss our latest personal commentaries and insights in the Retail Advisor blog.

blogWhat Retailers Can Learn from Flamenco
(September 22, 2016)


blogGoing the Distance
(September 15, 2016)


blogMacy's: Another Chapter in Retail's
Continuing Evolution Story

(August 18, 2016)

Retail Radar

The Parker Avery Group frequently contributes to articles, publications and events beyond our own thought leadership to provide current perspectives and advice to the retail community. We invite you to read the following articles to which we recently contributed or authored:

apparel logoOptimizing Time to Market
(Apparel Magazine, September 2016)

What was behind Macy's decision to cut more stores?
(Marketplace Business, August 2016)

Amy Schumer, Anna Wintour offer comedic relief in Vogue's July edition
(Luxury Daily, June 2016)

Parker Avery also recently announced the creation of a strategic partnership with Antuit to enhance retailer adoption of and return on investment from advanced retail analytics solutions.

antuitAntuit and The Parker Avery Group Formalize Partnership Focused on Retail Analytics
(September 2016)

Great Reads

Hug Your Customers, by Jack Mitchell, world-class keynote speaker for corporations including Morgan Stanley, Conde Nast, Payless, Nike, Starbucks. Non-fiction, business. STILL the Proven Way to Personalize Sales and Achieve Astounding Results.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain, Chief Revolutionary and Co-Founder of Quiet Revolution. Non-fiction, business. How we dramatically undervalue introverts and how much we lose in doing so.

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics, by Richard H. Thaler, Distinguished Service Professor of Economics and Behavioral Science at the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business. A frequently hilarious account of the struggle to bring an academic discipline back down to earth and change the way we think about economics, ourselves and our world.

Download PDF Version of Newsletter