The need to pivot suddenly has marked much of the business world’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® is no exception. Our team has had to reset much of an editorial plan that was mapped out in advance of a coronavirus pandemic that shut down wide stretches of the retail landscape while reprioritizing consumer behavior virtually overnight.
As such, we have adapted our long-running Retailer Of The Year edition (May 18 issue) to showcase six retail leaders whose vision and dexterity have reinforced their essential standing during the crisis.
Amazon. Walmart. Target. Costco. Home Depot. Kroger.
We call these architects of the new normal “Retail Champions.” It is not a congratulatory bestowment in the usual sense. The designation signifies how well-positioned they are to lead the post-COVID rebuild of what should be a dramatically realigned retail landscape… and how they are cementing new standards and practices that could apply to most retail businesses.
- Amazon is leveraging increased transactions with homebound consumers to advance already sophisticated data analysis and marketing.
- Walmart’s pick-up and home delivery programs reminded consumers why it is a vital resource in their communities.
- Target’s move into cities and dense suburbs with smaller stores— bolstered by its acquisition of store-to-home, same-day delivery system Shipt— elevated it into a critical shopping destination beyond its traditional store base.
- Costco gained more consideration and stronger positioning as a community stalwart by deploying a mounting e-commerce platform to fill in where the stores can’t.
- Home Depot underscored its DIY leadership, enabling consumers to escape by immersing themselves in home and garden projects.
- Kroger’s loyalty system, online expansion and pending Ocado robotic e-commerce fulfillment operation is introducing more consumers to the full menu of services under its Restock Kroger initiative.
The special Retail Champions report also examines other key retailers across all channels that could emerge as strong supporting players in the recovery; as well as previously thriving off-price operators suddenly confronted by unforeseen challenges.
HomeWorld’s Retail Champion selections might surprise few. All have been allowed to operate at full strength during the crisis, a significant advantage that embellishes their market clout while providing an active canvas on which to test and implement new methods that could further secure their long-term dominance.
Less obvious are the details not just in how these vast retailers have pivoted so adroitly during the crisis, but also in how visionary actions well before the COVID-19 outbreak increased their resistance to such sudden and profound upheaval.
The true measure of a retail champion has changed virtually overnight.
For these six retailers. For every retailer.