The Need for Speed: why retailers must improve speed to market to beat the competition

As this growth creates wealth and opportunities, more and more citizens want to enjoy the best places to live, work and play, and aspire to a lifestyle that has it all and wanting to associate with the finest brands.

While globalization makes our world feel ever-smaller, our cities continue to grow through rapid urbanization.  As this growth creates wealth and opportunities, more and more citizens want to enjoy the best places to live, work and play, and aspire to a lifestyle that has it all and wanting to associate with the finest brands. As a result, brands must be instantly recognizable and consistent wherever they are in the world.

In this environment, shopping malls have become increasingly popular around the world.  These malls are not just a place to shop but are leisure destinations in themselves, and in some regions become iconic landmarks.

However, recent low oil prices and weakened currencies have impacted the retail market, leaving both retailers and shopping mall owners keen to minimize negative impacts on their revenue, whilst remaining attractive and beating the competition.  To do this, retailers want to keep their brands fresh and relevant, and shopping mall owners want this to be reflected in the units that retailers occupy.

Often when a retailer is refreshing or refurbishing their unit, they are forced to close during the works. These closures have detrimental impacts on retailers’ revenue, so it is critical that refurbishments are undertaken in a timely and cost efficient manner to retain strength in the market.  Yet project duration can be reduced to a manageable length if the right approach is taken.  Below are some tips to minimize impact on your retail business:

Think outside the box
1. Engage resident delivery partners who understand the local environmental and tenancy restrictions to avoid delays. 2. Seek alternative local resources and providers to reduce the lead-in time whilst retaining quality and longevity of the brand. 3. Find innovative solutions, such as modular and prefabricated solutions, to streamline store installations.

Perfect your procurement process
1. Forecast fit-outs across the region to enable alignment of projects and maximize supply chain efficiencies. 2. Avoid long lead times for materials and supplies by engaging early with your whole supply chain. 3. Consider bulk purchasing and prefabricating items to drive lower costs, shorten lead times and retain consistent quality. 4. Devise a procurement strategy that aligns with the business drivers but looks to models outside of traditionally procure suppliers, such as partnering, framework agreements, or two stage tendering.

Manage external influences
1. A good relationship with your landlord or developer is critical to success – they need to be on side to ensure speedy approvals, proactive approach and assistance with solutions that meet both global brand standards and local mall constraints. 2. Understand and factor in time for variations of local landlord and statutory approvals requirements which are often misjudged or poorly accounted for in programs. 3. Engage with professionals who can assist in smoothing the negotiation and approval process – ensuring all documents are provided and are accurate before submitting.

There is an undeniable impact of unit closures on retailer income, so speed to market is key to avoiding this.  By following these steps, and considering engaging an experienced professional to help guide you through the process, you can develop an efficient approach that’s speedy and right for your brand.

Leesa Zerban – Project Manager, Dubai

Matt Fletcher

Global Sector Leader – Retail Ask me a question