Crisis Manifesto: How retail will change post-Coronavirus

Crisis Manifesto: How retail will change post-Coronavirus
Special Highline Beta Innovation Report on Retail after COVID-19

Retail is now staring at industry-wide disruption. Companies will need to change their business approaches and pivot quickly in order to stay alive. How can your company stay competitive in this changing landscape? Which players are currently leading the way and why? Highline Beta has put together a special report on retail innovation trends. Crisis Manifesto: How retail will change post-Coronavirus examines how COVID-19 is accelerating industry-wide paradigm shifts away from traditional retail business models and what’s needed to thrive in the months and years ahead.

Special Highline Beta Innovation Report on Retail after COVID-19

Based on industry research and interviews with startup and corporate stakeholders, this report will show:  

  1. How the retail market has shifted as a result of COVID-19
  2. What tools companies need to be successful in this new market 
  3. What trends are beginning to emerge in retail innovation 
  4. How startups and companies can work together to solve emerging market challenges faster

Recovery won’t be easy, but smart companies will embrace change quickly, adapting to survive and thrive in a rapidly shifting retail landscape, while delivering on their core values and looking ahead. 

Key Takeaways

  1. A New Competitive Landscape: The retail landscape after COVID-19 doesn’t look the same. COVID-19 is an accelerant, with changes that were set to take place over the next 2-3 years getting adopted in weeks. In this new landscape, companies will find themselves competing in a world of increased consumer polarizations, where controls over borders and economies are tightened and where digital innovation reigns. Retailers must rethink their customers’ buyer journey and think harder about strategic partnerships that would allow them to rapidly expand their digital footprint to stay ahead.
  2. It’s Back to Basics: Given the new competitive landscape post-Coronavirus, retailers will need to revisit the core values and promises of their brands and get creative with manifesting them. The Kahn Retailing Success Matrix framework serves as a useful guide for retail companies to pick key areas of focus, survive and then thrive in a new retail environment. Companies that focus on Product Brand, for instance, may need to invest more heavily in digital and social commerce to make “friends” of their consumers, while retailers focused on Low Price may need to use technology to eliminate service pain points for their price-conscious consumers. 
  3. Focus on Resilience: For companies to succeed on the other side of COVID-19, it is imperative to strengthen business resilience and quickly adapt roadmaps and plans to changing realities. Last month’s plans will no longer do. Trends such as increased automation in retail, need for more diversified business models, increased need for efficiency and a demand for compassionate leadership can act as useful guidelines for navigating the uncharted waters ahead.
  4. More Corporate-Startup Partnerships: Entrepreneurs and business leaders will need to rise to the challenge and turn this crisis into an opportunity. But they can’t do it alone. Startups can help companies accelerate change, and test different approaches much faster than custom solutions developed in-house. During turbulent times, speed matters.
  5. Follow Emerging Innovation Trends: Companies will need to adapt to meet the changing needs of consumers. Corporates and startups have already started partnering in order to keep up with new trends including increased need for home delivery, increased desire for connection and entertainment (which companies are meeting through streaming), a desire for enhanced retail experiences through AI powered tools, and above all, a bolstered desire for brands to rise to the occasion and show their commitment to sustainability and social good. 

In a Post-COVID Era, Speed Beats Scale: COVID-19 is rapidly accelerating innovation in retail and the biggest lesson here is speed. Consumers will no longer have the patience to wait for brands to muddle their way through digital transformation and deliver on their brand promise. Consumers will expect brands to lead like never before and make the world better. In these new times, speed beats scale. No matter the size, all companies must act decisively and move fast. This pressure to deliver will embolden brands to seek strategic alliances and partnerships, and turn to the startup and technology ecosystem for solutions like never before.

About the Crisis Manifestos

The retail innovation report is the first of several that will be coming out in the next month. We’re focusing on a few industries including insurance, health and finance. Each innovation report will include a summary of research conducted, with interviews, trend analyses, recommendations on adjusting to the future and more. Watch our Innovation Insights blog for details of upcoming reports.

About Highline Beta

Highline Beta is a corporate innovation and venture development firm working with the Fortune 1000 to build new businesses. We help companies identify new growth opportunities, and use internal and external innovation to grow beyond the core.

We believe in speed and experimentation. And always with an investor’s mindset. Whether you’re looking to build new businesses in-house, spin-out new startups, or partner with startups through a corporate accelerator, we can help.

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