Retailer Lessons

WHAT HAVE RETAILERS learned from the recession? According to Tracy Mullin, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation (NRF), retailers’ biggest take away from the recession seems to be learning how to do more with less. Companies looked at every line item on every balance sheet to make decisions about what to cut. While that understandably forced hard decisions, it also spurred creativity. Retailers made incredible strides with social media, took innovative approaches to inventory management, and found new ways to grow, all while spending less.

Many of the efficiencies that retailers adopted in the last year will serve them well as the economy bounces back and our industry grows again. Asked how retailers can regain sales and growth momentum in 2010, Mullin says that many new and emerging technologies can give retailers a real edge as they look to 2010 and beyond, such as merchandise analytics, digital signage, m-commerce and social networking, to name only a few. In addition, there is a remarkable amount of creativity in retailing outside the U.S. that American retailers can learn from and take advantage of, to help reshape their businesses going forward.