Retail Challenges Open Doors To New Opportunities

greg sleterRetail in 2017 has been a mad, mad, mad, mad world. But with the madness also comes a host of opportunity for retailers and suppliers alike.

It’s difficult to remember another period of time when so much has changed and at such a rapid pace. The growth of e-commerce over the past decade, the use of social media to connect directly with consumers and the ability to get goods purchased online to shoppers the next day have combined to create a retail revolution.

As with any period of upheaval, those who are willing to accept the changes to their business and tear away conventional norms will be the ones who succeed in the years to come.

Recently, I attended the Private Label Manufacturers Association’s (PLMA) annual trade event in Chicago, where I led a panel discussion focused on the new opportunities for private label and housewares. The panel included Cheri Novak of Regal Ware, Christopher Durham of My Private Brand, AJ Riedel of Riedel Marketing Group and Carrie Peterson of Kroger.

We spent the hour covering a host of issues related to housewares and private label that included how today’s consumers views private brands, the pitfalls to be avoided when developing new programs and the opportunities for retailers and suppliers going forward.

The discussion amongst the panel along with conversations I had with others during my time at the show had me thinking about opportunities. Many who I spoke with, while fully understanding current-day challenges, were also energized and looking for new ways to gain an advantage in today’s hyper-competitive market.

While the topic of Amazon.com was discussed, I also got the strong sense that people are tired of talking about the e-commerce giant and are focused more on finding ways to overcome the challenges Amazon presents.

One theme prevalent in my conversations was that yesterday’s way of doing business no longer works for today and tomorrow. New methods, new programs and new thought processes need to be developed.

The takeaway: doing it “the way we’ve always done it” is no longer good enough. Those who adapt and are willing to evolve will survive and thrive.