Planning and Implementing a Retail Strategy

Launched December 2013 Updated November 2014 10 lectures
Prof. Joel R. Evans
Zarb School of Business, Hofstra University, USA

The discipline of retailing and the development of retail strategies have evolved a lot over time. Even though ‘modern’ retailing is considered to have started at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, significant retailing activities have taken place for centuries (even millennia). While retailing was once confined to street peddlers... read moreand bazaars, today we are witnessing the greatest structural and technological changes in the history of retailing.

To the retailer, the current situation has brought an influx of multi-channel opportunities and complexities, along with a sophisticated array of new technologies. Anywhere, anytime availability is not just a slogan any more. The typical retailer faces more competition than ever before. The firm no longer just competes with another store across the street but with clicks-only or bricks-and-clicks retailers. Going forward, it really will be a battle for the survival of the fittest, as we see even some of the most venerated retailers fall back or go out of business.

To the consumer, the number of shopping alternatives can be overwhelming. In some instances, a supposedly quick and simple purchase becomes tougher because the consumer keeps searching for the best deal and can find it hard to choose among so many sellers. The consumer is also concerned about privacy and identity theft issues, delivery dates, and shipping fees.

Nonetheless: “Although there will be clear differences (such as online shopping), the future of retailing will look much like its past: Individual firms will seek out competitive advantages, adjust their merchandising practices, utilize appropriate technologies as they are introduced, look to obtain cost efficiencies, focus on loyal shoppers, strive to be convenient for their shoppers, emphasize value, and otherwise adapt their businesses to reflect changing marketplace conditions. And new retail formats will emerge, mature institutions will reinvent themselves, and some institutions will fade away.” (Evans, 2011)

With the preceding in mind, this series tackles strategic retail management from a variety of perspectives. A broad range of topics is offered, and experts from several different countries have been invited in order to give this series a global flavor. Presenters are from Argentina, Great Britain, New Zealand, Sweden, and the United States.