Hi Reader,

In this week's podcast, I'm excited to reveal our new Path To Profitability consulting service. Profitability remains perhaps the most stubborn and broad challenge in the industry and impacts retailers across categories, channels and niches.

This project has been in the works for a few months and opens collaboration with new partners and will look to closely embed into customer organisations to help drive meaningful and long-term change. We focus on defining the most common areas of challenge across 6 workstreams, including:

💖 Attracting and retaining customers - and how to ensure you remain customer-centric.

📦 Strategic stock flows - and ensuring that supply and stock operations are enabling the business.

⏩ Streamlined operational efficiency - and focusing on the operating model that makes sense for you.

🏷️ Intelligent pricing - and how to ensure your prices align to the market, the business and the bottom line.

✅ Actionable data insight - and how to ensure this is helping, not hindering your approach.

🤑 Unlocking new revenue streams - and how to blend this with the current core business model.

If you'd like to explore how this could help you drive better performance, reach out, or book a meeting.

Retail transformation news headlines

💇‍♀️ Boots have opened a salon and expanded into premium haircare products online. The London salon is in collaboration with Live True London and in close collaboration with L'Oreal. This move will look to enhance the moves that Boots has made into the beauty sector and how they are levelling up their offering.

📺 Meanwhile, UK mobile network operator, EE, have expanded into consumer electronics via their upgraded ecommerce site. The move represents a clever way of staying aligned to customers through smart devices. The move is a great example of how the fiercely competitive retail landscape evolves.

👟 JD Sports have launched a new loyalty programme called "JD Status" with a variety of benefits. The "Status" branding is clever and this follows through to their premium tier, called the "A List" for the most valuable customers. All customers can earn cashback on purchases, access deals early, attend exclusive events and receive gifts. The A Listers can also access personal shopping, with dedicated customer care representatives and upgrades across the offering. The programme is now live in the UK, following the previous introduced in the US. It will launch into Europe in 2024.

🚁 Amazon are scaling up their drone delivery programme in the UK and Italy and will expand in the US. Planning to 'launch' deliveries in the UK in late 2024, the initiative will also introduce a new drone design which is smaller and quieter than current models. In addition to the evolution of the physical drone, they will also be transforming the infrastructure to enable the service, so that it becomes a more viable commercial solution to use at scale. Meanwhile, the UK's Aviation Minister also commented on the initiative that the joint vision is for drone deliveries to become "commonplace" in the UK by 2030.

🤖 Amazon are trialling humanoid robots with arms and legs in their US warehouses. The robots are from Agility, a company that won part of Amazon's Innovation fund last year. The announcement suggests this is an early-stage experiment and not ready for full deployment yet. Amazon Robotics chief technologist said "We’re experimentalists at heart. We’re gonna figure that out. We’re going to do a pilot and see how that works out". Amazon have been prolific in their use of automated warehouses after acquiring Kiva Systems. So, I'd suggest we look for a further investment or full acquisition of Agility based on the trial to assess the future viability of this technology. In the meantime, this will remain a potential glimpse into the future that will fire up conversations about the role of people and reskilling workforces on a grand scale.

📹 In the UK, Superdrug are continuing to drive transformation by experimenting with livestream shopping. Superdrug are looking at this as an experiment and are looking to explore the channel further.

🤳 John Lewis are seeing significant use of their virtual try-on feature. The technology, provided by Zyler, is in use on John Lewis's fashion rental site. Data shows that 16% of website visitors try using the virtual try-on feature, and of those that try, an average of 52 outfits were tried on. This feels like and enormous number, and whilst some are likely experimenting with the novelty factor, it suggests the ease of letting customers explore the range and highlights the opportunities with this tech.

📏 In Poland, Żabka have launched an autonomous "nano" store which sits on a tiny footprint. The small size is allowing Żabka to engage in conversations about store locations for previously impossible locations as the size of a classic checkout was always too demanding. It's an interesting angle for autonomous checkout technology to unlock new sites with inconvenient size or footfall. With a scheduled visit to replenish stock, this could offer customers a whole new level of convenience. But getting the financials to work in a viable way is another whole challenge.

🥼 Macy's are experimenting with the metaverse and are launching a range of digital clothing. This is an emerging market but still incredibly minuscule relative to the traditional clothing market. In recent years, Macy's have been experimenting with aspects like NFTs but also are focusing on modernising their core business.

New podcast episode: Uncovering the path to retail profitability - #261

In the competitive retail industry, profitability remains the ultimate aim for omnichannel and ecommerce pure-play retailers alike. Yet challenges like operational inefficiencies, muddled data management, and pricing pitfalls often deter retailers from hitting their vital profit targets. The scenario paints a dire picture: strategic anchors dragging companies down, potentially to the point of sinking. But what if there’s a lifeline? Oliver Banks introduces OB&Co’s innovative ‘Path to Profitability’ service, a tailor-made consulting solution designed to pinpoint and address your profitability hurdles. Discover the key elements and factors to uncover your path to profitability.

Take a listen to episode 261 of the Retail Transformation Show podcast and discover:

  • The importance and sensitivity of pricing, and how uncontrolled adjustments can spell disaster and why dynamic pricing can mature your approach.
  • The intricacies of stock management, from maintaining strong availability to clearing dead stock.
  • The value of developing a lean operating model to refine the entire business structure.
  • Why it’s crucial to shift from data to action for proactive decision-making to drive profit.
  • And the emerging trend that’s set to disrupt the entire industry in just a few years.

Check out these recent episodes too:

#260: Unlocking retail simplification

#259: How AR is redefining the shopping experience

#258: The story behind my upcoming book

Have a great week and keep transforming!


Oliver Banks of OB&Co

Oliver helps retailers to change and transform their operating models. He's the host of the Retail Transformation Show podcast and founder of the RetailTransformation.Live virtual event

Read more from Oliver Banks of OB&Co