How Agile Retail Practices Speed-Up Time To Market For D2C Brands

Posted on January 8th, 2021
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How Agile Retail Practices Speed-Up Time To Market For D2C Brands

The retail landscape is directly linked to customer preferences and evolving fashion trends. In this dynamic environment, brands who keep up with the change while delivering high-quality products can thrive, while others fall behind and are lost in the buzzing world of numerous brands that are born every day. With over 3,000 stores closing in the UK, retailers have recognized the need for shifting their businesses online.

According to reports by Forrester, one-third of total non-grocery sales are going to shift to an online hemisphere by 2022. By looking at the frequent shift from in-store to online retail, it’s safer to say that digital stores are the need of the hour.

Proceeding towards the shift is easier said than done. In order to enjoy the full benefits of online retail, a customer-centric approach is required. Today’s technology-driven retail landscape basically comprises millennials and Gen Z buyers that are looking for brands that particularly speak to their personality and preferences, choosing the brands that are actively offering an innovative and interactive shopping experience. Hence, retailers are rapidly adopting the new age of agile retail marketing which allows them to move at a faster pace and gain a competitive edge in the online retail environment.

Agile Retail: Why do we need it?

The term “agile retail” refers to a direct-to-consumer model of retailing which is mainly centered on recognizing the consumers’ needs and demands via multiple data sources and crafting approaches to effectively engage with the consumers for better user feedback. Agile retail basically uses big data to analyze the trends that extract a better idea about customer preference and infuse them in products, campaigns, and initiatives that help them meet the consumers' demands effectively.

Agile retail is truly a customer-centric approach in every sense. In a highly competitive market landscape, agile retail can bring a significant change to the way retailers handle their customer preferences and product portfolios. The insights directly influence the way products are being marketed, hence it encourages retailers to shift from traditional approaches of marketing and engage with the consumers more to find the right balance between their demands and preferences.

Enterprises that are trying to adopt an agile retail approach have to consider the fact that they are handing over the reins of certain operations of their brand to team members, individual employees, and experts and letting them run it. Handing this autonomy over to teams can be a little daunting for enterprises that are still hung up on traditional marketing practices and hierarchies.

It is vital to achieving true retail agility to increase speed-to-market. If teams are waiting for approvals and get caught in longstanding functions, enterprises will lose the core aspect of agility. In the time being used for the experimental campaign to pass all hurdles, you are likely to come across new data that suggests a better approach that would be even more effective.

Adopting Agile Methodology

As we know, trends and customer preferences can shift by the minute and by the hour on a daily basis. Adapting to these developments and working accordingly is essential to gain an advantage over competitors. Keeping this in mind, agile retail seeks to combine two forces, a proactive customer-centric marketing approach fused with central stability. Some core practices that effectively describe the agile retail strategy are mentioned below:

  • Uses data collected from customers’ purchasing patterns and trends to make craft marketing campaigns.

  • Allows distinct individuals and teams to be responsible for the key aspects of in-store and online retail.

  • Encourages teams to make relevant adjustments aligned with the data findings, company guidelines, and parameters.

  • Launches trial-and-learn methodologies to help teams come up with ideas that ensure the best results.

  • Requires collaborations between technology, employees, and business experts for better communication and innovative solutions.

Adopting an agile methodology goes beyond speeding up the process, it requires a complete transformation of an enterprise’s internal operations. An effective agile methodology thrives in a holistic technological environment, with the right expertise and best practices. To get started, enterprises can apply some commonly observed tips and tricks in their agile retail strategy that can help them ease out the initial processes without getting overwhelmed by the shift.

  1. Pick a Single Category for Trial

To understand the benefits offered by agile retail, you can test this methodology on a single aspect of your retail business as a trial run. The choice of processes depends on you, it can be the check-out process or the advertising process. Later on, the approach can be evolved so that it touches every element of the retail process to keep the business moving forward.

  1. Ensure Communication and Commitment

Communication is paramount when it comes to adopting a new approach, regardless of the type. Therefore, agile methodology in retail also needs commitment and communication to be implemented properly. Teams and individuals should take up responsibility and ownership of the commitment towards agile retail.

  1. Issue Clear Guidelines

As teams will be working on dedicated areas of the retail business, it’s important to make sure that the brand guidelines and principles are being followed and clearly communicated within the teams. Missing out on the guidelines and brand identity will defeat the whole purpose of direct-to-consumer marketing and losing its agile perspective as well.

  1. Integrate Automation of Processes

Leveraging intelligent software can help you keep track of customer trends, reports, and behaviors, which is highly essential for agile practices in direct-to-consumer models. Explore the available options to find the best one that suits your brand’s ambitions and lets you stay connected with your consumers at all times. Additionally, software that tracks regular factors like activity, weather, and time can also help you understand the patterns effectively.

  1. Apply A/B Testing Principles

Before jumping into agile practices, it is better to introduce some A/B testing and prototyping in the processes. A/B testing is also known as split testing that compares two aspects of marketing processes to check the performance potential. A/B testing can be used to evaluate mobile experiences and in-store retail experiences as well. These techniques can efficiently demonstrate the advantages of agile processes and make them appear less foreign when you finally apply them.

Benefits of Agile Retail Marketing

Agile retail marketing processes can work wonders and ensure a better go-to-market time when they are applied intelligently. As customer experience is paramount in direct-to-consumer models, it is important to take care of factors that can hamper the overall retail experience. Here’s how agile retail marketing can help solve those issues.

  1. Enhances Personalized Experiences

Agile retail systems can empower customer experiences by analyzing their needs and behaviors and respond to the demands in a more personalized way, making the shopping experience more interactive. Most shoppers are attracted by personalized offers and agile retail solutions serve the purpose by directly responding to the customers' interests which in turn encourages customer loyalty.

  1. Simplifies Processes

Companies applying agile retail approaches are able to find the right balance between reducing costs and speeding up the deliveries. Faster responses and troubleshooting lead to a more streamlined process, resulting in timely delivery, a very important factor that affects customer satisfaction. No one wants a delayed or misplaced order. By ensuring proper communication and removing internal barriers, retailers can quickly adapt to the customer’s purchasing patterns and serve them accordingly.

  1. Empowers Employees

Giving responsibility to individual employees and teams generates a sense of accountability and authority. This encourages the employees to perform better as they are solely responsible for any mishap that could affect the customer experience. The sense of responsibility urges employees to work better in the agile retail environment, putting consumers on top and rapidly coming up with innovative and creative solutions to solve their problems.

  1. Refreshes Management Protocols

The agile retail approach encourages retailers to refresh their management practices and operations according to the consumers’ behavioral patterns. This helps brands to pinpoint specific areas that they need to work on, based on the newly recognized customer preferences, and prioritize them to come up with better advertising and marketing strategies.

Bottom line: Move Faster with Agile Retail Practices

Fast fashion and faster deliveries are highly influencing in the e-commerce retail sectors. With budding direct-to-consumer brands, faster time-to-market is one of the key factors that will help them move ahead in the highly dynamic retail landscape. Leveraging on agile retail practices can effectively ensure timely deliveries, faster processes, and fewer hurdles in marketing practices, ensuring better customer satisfaction as a whole.

Agile retail marketing can effectively enhance personalized customer experiences, empower teams and individual employees, streamline various retail-related processes, and continuously refresh the management protocols. As customer feedback experience is paramount in direct-to-consumer models, it is vital to be open to the changing scenarios and implementation of best practices that are aligned with the brand’s purpose to build better customer relations, generate a sense of authority, roll out better products and services, and achieve a robust brand identity.

Best Practices

Posted on:
January 8th, 2021