Developing a retail strategy
Good planning is critical to the success of any business. Strategic planning essentially involves setting a strategic direction and objectives for the business and defining parameters and processes that underpin how the business plans go about achieving those objectives. Senior executives usually undertake strategic planning based on available information relating to the business and its operating environment.
The ARA Retail Institute runs multiple workshops on developing and defining objectives. Join the ARA Retail Institute in their latest workshop which looks into how to direct marketing strategies to engage customers.
Retail leaders can develop an effective retail strategy through the following:
- Define and develop objectives
- Prepare for strategy success
- Constraints and contingencies
Define and develop objectives
With a strong grounding in the prevailing retail conditions and an awareness of the influence of the long-term business vision we move into the phase of strategic development where objectives are defined and developed for the period ahead. At this stage businesses are effectively asking and attempting to answer one question. Given what we know about ourselves, our market, our competitors and our target audience what do we wish to achieve and how will we do so?
Embed active consultation
Consultation is an essential element of successful strategic planning and is ideally embedded at key milestones across the process. The challenge that comes with consultation is directing and weighing the relative value of feedback and managing the process well.
To be effective, the consultation needs to be closely managed in the following areas:
- Purpose of consultation at each stage
- Selection of stakeholders at each stage of consultation
- How to communicate consultation parameters and expectations
- How to conduct consultation i.e. group meeting, individual meeting, questionnaire etc.
- How to stay on track throughout the consultation process
- What kind of information and feedback is most desirable
It is easy to make the consultation process far more complex than it needs to be. Consideration must be given to how this process is managed and how stakeholders are informed of the outcomes of the consultation process and whether their feedback has been useful or inspired specific actions.
Develop objectives and targets
Retail leaders are often tasked with the responsibility of interpreting strategic directives to develop objectives and targets that will help them orient their area of business toward overarching organisational goals.
Businesses have a variety of methods for the communication of strategic directives at their disposal. The greater the distance between the creators of the strategic plan and those that need to execute it, the greater the need for comprehensive and concrete strategic directives so those business leaders responsible for execution have absolute confidence in the direction they need to drive the business toward.
When setting objectives and targets for store, department or team it is necessary to:
- Align closely with business mission, vision and values
- Reflect the area of work and contribution expected from those involved in achieving these targets
- Contribute appropriately to the organisation’s broader strategic planning objectives
- Long-term objectives provide an umbrella to guide the planning of each business unit of the organisation during a longer period. Short-term objectives can be viewed as stepping stones toward the achievement of the long-term objectives.
Align with store policies and procedures
When putting the final touches on objectives and targets at store or departmental level it is helpful to again return to the overarching business guidelines to ensure alignment. Ideally objectives and targets should be developed in alignment with strategic business directives for the period in question.
However, it may be valuable to also reflect upon the relevant policies, procedures and protocols that govern store operations in that context. It may also be that certain limitations are placed upon activities store locations that would otherwise be possible elsewhere. These are important considerations to address early in the process before any investment in time and resources is expended.
About ARA Retail Institute
ARA Retail Institute is Australia’s leading retail training provider for both accredited and non-accredited learning programs. For more information, please visit: www.retailinstitute.org.au