World Retail Congress 2019


Retail's Strategic Pillars

Retail's Strategic Pillars

The roadmap to rebuild a better retail will focus on six key pillars which are critical to today’s world that have been highlighted following extensive conversations with leading retailers but in particular, the World Retail Congress Advisory Board. What is critical is that retailers cannot choose which pillar to focus on because they are all interconnected. 

Each of these pillars will be examined across the programme of Congress events over the next 12 months with top knowledge partners working with the World Retail Congress and advisory boards of senior retailers to develop fresh insights, challenging conclusions and most importantly, a series of action plans and recommendations that will bring positive benefits to retail leaders and help shape the future of retail - a better retail. 

Our Planet


As sustainability and the climate crisis becomes the defining issue of our time, with mounting pressure from consumers, NGOs and governments, retailers and the retail industry have to take a proactive leading role in affecting genuine, positive change. There are big challenges for retailers to tackle and tackle urgently, from the use of natural resources in the manufacturing of products to the environmental impact of low-cost ‘disposable’ fashion; from avoiding food waste to the creation of a virtuous, circular economy.
Our society


Retail exists to serve not only its customers but as has been underlined by the global health crisis brought about by COVID-19, it serves the needs of society itself. How can retail help shape a positive future by being part of the rejuvenation of communities, neighbourhoods and the towns and cities that have faced massive change? COVID-19 has accentuated income inequalities around the world so what does this mean for retailers serving their customers? How should retail help set new standards in creating a modern, progressive workforce that is built around fair pay, diversity and inclusion to release new talents within the industry?
Our economy


What does the retail industry need to ensure it can grow in national and international economies whilst helping to reskill workforces, grow employment and feed into the overall prosperity of the countries within which they operate? At a critical time when retail is being reshaped by digital channels, how can retail’s voice be heard by governments and interest groups in order for the industry to be part of the all important discussions and debates around this new ecosystem? Retailers in developing countries have received invaluable help from governments whilst those in emerging markets have received very little or no financial support. What does this mean to the global development of retail?
Our businesses


In the new retail landscape the rules for success have been changed radically. Winning retailers require a business model that is fit for purpose, more agile and innovative than ever before. A new balance is being struck between the on and the offline worlds. What does this mean for your online business that has grown dramatically and what is the future for physical space? What technologies should retailers focus on to enable change? Does your brand have a distinct purpose that creates differentiation and wins loyal support from consumers? Winning retailers will be those that truly put the customer at the heart of everything they do within the business and that will demand a radical new structure, culture and approach with talent embedded at every level that can respond to today’s world and today’s customers.
Our consumer


At the heart of everything is the consumer. This has been taken to a new level now with the tools available through data and machine learning to form deeper understanding and therefore relationships with your customers. Do you really understand the new motivations of consumers? How can you build individual relationships with your customers? How do you win loyalty and trust?
Our plan for change


Ultimately, nothing will change or happen without dynamic leadership from the top of a retail organisation. But it is also about the empowerment of people throughout the organisation and the willingness to embrace partnerships with other businesses and brands to help deliver real change that serves customers needs and a positive impact on the world we live in. How can retailers rethink their recruitment to deliver real diversity and unleash talent and new ideas throughout the business and by implication the industry? What are the new metrics that will deliver sustainable growth and keep a business agile and innovative?