Over the last 25 years, the retail landscape has changed dramatically

What is the role of the shop?

Retail is constantly evolving as retailers fight to stay relevant to their customers and profitable.

Over the last 25 years, the retail landscape has changed dramatically, having moved from independent family stores with limited selections and localised pricing, to international retail chains with multiple stores, vast selections and greater pricing power.

Today, retailers are having to respond to new threats to their business models of e-commerce, infinite product-selection, and visible pricing. What’s more is that the pace of change is increasing. The number of net store closures is accelerating as sales of product move online, raising the question about the role of a physical shop.

Retailers are responding in different ways. Physical retailers look to increase the share of digital sales, while online-only players are starting to realise the importance of a physical presence on the high street. These new blended retail business models are blurring cost structures and it makes their management more complex.

To transform their business models, retailers need to have the right teams that understand how the business needs to change, while maintaining their traditional retail offering, and have the resources and experience to transition the business profitably into the future.

At the heart of this transformation is the customer, and how well retailers understand their increasing demands and what they will buy – whether that’s a product, a service, experience or an all-encompassing lifestyle.

The role of the board is to make sure that the management understands the evolving nature of the business and what that means for the future. It also has to ensure that the team operates cohesively with a shared vision on where the business needs to be going forward, but also manage to drive profits today.

Forming that vision and the appropriate management team to take it forward, is critical to ensure the business delivers on what the consumer wants, in the way they want it.

Stephan DuCharme

Managing Partner L1 Retail