I recently spoke to Pippa Wicks, Executive Director at John Lewis & Partners in the run-up to Christmas, to reflect on a year of incredible disruption and change to the retail industry.
Traditionally, this is a hectic period in stores and online but the pandemic has exacerbated so many consumer trends in such little time that companies will end 2020 with a wealth of experiences – good and bad – that they must analyse and channel into positive strategic intent for next year.
Of course, knowing your customer remains critical to retail business success and Pippa cites the uplift in online activity and the pursuit of value and sustainability in purchases as driving forces that her business will seek to harness in the future.
The complexity of the industry has only been compounded by the events of 2020, and it’s interesting to hear about the importance of prioritisation – a focus on inspiration, navigation and personalisation for consumers, plus online, availability and customer service operationally as a business.
Decision-making at pace has driven accountability at John Lewis, too, something that Pippa is keen to keep her colleagues thriving on. With the speed at which the market continues to evolve, business agility of that kind will, no doubt, be another key differentiator for retail operators as recovery gathers momentum into 2021.