New Levels of Competitiveness in E-retailing: Robert Antall


Robert Antall, CEO, Lake West Group is speaking on the new level of competitiveness in e-retailing. His slides are busy, but he's saying quite a few good things. I'm just writing down some ideas. Today's innovation is tomorrow expectation Customer loyalty isn't about getting people to buy more stuff from you, it's about turning them into advocates. He uses Hertz as an example. They use customer information to understand what customers want, not send lame emails. The emerging competitor is "globally integrated:" multi-channel, international, vertically integrated, agnostic supply chain, integrated technology, and multi-brand. He cites Costco, Staples, Gucci, AutoZone, Nike, HomeDepot, Payless, and Starbucks as examples. Retail is generally slowing, but online is building in these companies. They're increasing order size and enhancing customer loyalty.

Some things competitive companies do:

  • Understand who the customer is and what they purchase
  • Forecast demand from customers
  • Define the business strategy to meet these needs

Be customer-centric, not product centric. In the 1980, suppliers had power in a retail relationship. They dictated to retailers and shoppers. MSRP is an example. In the 1990's and to the present, retailers built powerhouse chains and took the reigns. Moving forward, shoppers will become dominant because of the information available to them. Build your business around that fact.

There is a direct correlation between enhancing the customer experience and long term profitability. Most shoppers can find most products in multiple locations. Customer centricity is the most important message we can get today. Reatiling 2015: New Frontiers by PwC: "Customers will tell you waht they want--if you know where to listen."

I was going long with him and liking what I was hearing until he showed this slide:

Is This Customer Centricity?

I'm not clear how this translates in to a "customer centricity success story." Segmenting customers so you can target the ones who make you the most money isn't my idea of "customer-centric." In my mind, customer-centricity is about the customer experience. Targeting customers to extract more money from them is exactly the mentality that gets in the way of creating a great customer experience.