Home > NewsRelease > The Merchant Life - Volume 44
The Merchant Life - Volume 44
Liza Amlani --  Retail Strategy Expert Liza Amlani -- Retail Strategy Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Toronto, Ontario
Monday, July 3, 2023


Welcome to The Merchant Life where founders, VPs, and C-Suite executives come to seek out valuable merchandising insights.

This edition of the newsletter is brought to you by the letter P.

elmo letters GIF by Sesame Street
Throwback to some wholesome entertainment.

Three P’s, to be exact.

When put together, the three P’s will equate to breakthrough results for retailers and brands alike.

Please proceed…

As we look at product development and merchandising processes, we notice that specific problems pop up along the way. The default response is to “fix” the problem with contingent actions.

Here are some common examples:

  1. Market feedback arriving after assortment lock. This results in critical deadlines being pushed out so that the feedback is incorporated.

  2. Materials teams scrambling to meet design requests. Often, guardrails are not in place to limit requests coming from design.

  3. SKU rationalization. This happens when product assortments get out of control.

  4. In-Season Inventory Shuffle. Taking product off the shop floor and reallocating to meet demand; this means less time in market to sell.

Regardless of the example, the business is impacted.

Speed to market is slowed down, OpEx increases, margins are eroded and full-price sales are reduced.

…all to get “back on track.”

A simple diagram helps to sketch this out.

Current best practices are the root causes of these declines in performance. And, developing better fixes to problems is confused with some type of innovative thinking.

The better approach is to prevent problems from happening. Instead of getting back on track to restore performance, the idea is to elevate performance.

Which looks like this:

If time, effort, and resources are not wasted on restoring performance, imagine what a brand would be able to accomplish.

Imagine the positive impact on profitability when margins are maintained and full-price sales increase.

This is particularly important today. Because, eventually, we will emerge from the economic slowdown. Meaning, this is precisely the time to invest in process innovation. Not when the economic engine has picked up steam again.

By comparison, you would want your star athlete to get in shape in the off-season, not play themselves into shape during the season, right?

Further, process innovation has impacts across the organization, including:

  • Retaining talent.

  • Implementing technology. AI, anyone?

  • Increasing investments in high-priority areas.

All of these are important to businesses today - not just those in retail.

From the above, we can derive our “Three P’s for Retail Success.”

Process, Performance, Profitability.

More specifically:

  1. Innovate Process.

  2. Elevate Performance.

  3. Drive Profitability.

Capturing this in a diagram would look like this…

Give us some clipart and we can rule the world.

Examples of process innovation have been discussed in great detail in previous editions of the newsletter.

These include:

And the subsequent effects on both performance and profitability are well documented.

Several market-leading brands are increasingly aware of the need to innovate processes. Some have already begun their transformations while others are in the early stages.

Others have much work to do as they are stuck with an outdated mindset and go-to-market approach.

Regardless, to stay competitive, it is essential for brands to proactively address obstacles versus developing better fixes.

Go figure, we’re talking about this on July 11th over dinner in NYC.

Come hang out with leaders from Ralph Lauren, Under Armour, Ted Baker, The Accessories Council, and more.

Sandra Campos will serve as a special guest moderator of a panel discussion during the evening.

Join us for an evening of provocative business talk and a wonderful social experience.

…no peas will be served.

Interested in attending? Let us know ASAP as almost all of our 15 spots are taken.

Interested, but unable to attend? Let us know to receive the Coles notes version of the discussion after the event.

We’ll see you in New York City, either at our dinner or at The Lead Summit. If you’re planning to attend The Lead, register as our guest using code RSGxTheLeadSummit.

The newsletter will go on pause as we begin migrating from Substack to a new platform.

More details to come in the following weeks.

As always, send your thoughts, comments, and feedback to hello@retailstrategygroup.com.

Retail Strategy Group works with retailers and brands to help them accelerate their speed to market, preserve gross margins and deliver products that their customers truly want. Their monthly newsletter, The Merchant Life attracts retail founders, VPs, and C-Suite executives as they seek valuable merchandising and product creation insights.

For more information, visit www.retailstrategygroup.com, and to sign up for the newsletter, visit www.themerchantlife.com.

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Raj Dhiman
Title: Chief Rainmaker
Group: Retail Strategy Group
Dateline: London, ON Canada
Direct Phone: 416-627-3008
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