Ten years ago, the retail calendar was simple. Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the US, dominated the worldwide rankings with offline sales. How things have changed. The centre of gravity has moved east and online. 11.11 in China now dominates. This year Alibaba alone hit USD74bn in sales, utterly dwarfing last year’s USD18bn across Thanksgiving weekend from all retail sales in the US.
And many other platforms and markets follow. JD and Pinduoduo fight for 11.11 in China too. Across South East Asia, Shopee and Lazada crank it up on 9.9. Tokopedia runs a monthly event in Indonesia. Amazon’s Great Indian Festival and Flipkart’s Big Billion Days shape the retail landscape in India. And so the list goes on.
What is equally significant is the change in the way it all happens. Each year the fight to engage consumers, attract traffic, and set new records becomes more intense and more complex. Gamification, TV shows, live influencer feeds, short videos, and social media buzz are all used by platforms and brands to generate interest. This year major CEOs - from Unilever to Huawei - joined live stream events. Time-limited offers drive urgency, while traditional sales techniques like lucky draws, free gifts, first purchase incentives, customer loyalty incentives, and games all drive engagement and sales. Competition is fierce. It is the attention economy on steroids.
Brand protection and control amid this retail frenzy is challenging, and can really stretch the GC and head of IP’s resources. These are key strategic issues. If your thinking is not moving at the same pace as your commercial colleagues, you are falling behind. With the right approach, this is an opportunity to demonstrate the legal team’s role in value creation, not just risk management.
In-house teams are playing a much wider role in the way they support marketing, sales, and e-commerce, with leading businesses going much further than merely having a capable platform monitoring provider in place.
In-house teams are adding value in four key areas:
As the complexity of the whole retail space develops, ensuring you are prepared and have the right capabilities in the right place is challenging.
So what does being prepared look like?
Ultimately you need the right capabilities to be prepared: the right people, with the right skills and experience, in the right place and the right time zone to be close to the business, supported by the right vendors incentivised in the right way.
Given the pace of change, it will be different next year and every year after that.
We can help you get it right in 2021. And with actionable insights and a fit-for-future structured capabilities review, we can help you to keep getting it right.