The Consumer Sector’s future: Are you ready?

The spectacular collapse of electronics goods retailer Dick Smith has raised many questions, including some around changes in the consumer landscape. Their IP, including digital assets, has recently been purchased by Ruslan Kogan, with the brand now online only.

Dick Smith Logo

The retail and CPG sectors have seen disruptive reversals in the last few years, with a recent McKinsey report finding close to 20% of companies in the consumer sector are estimated to be in financial distress at this time. Retail and packaged-goods executives need to consider the impact of disruptive forces, including the changing face of the consumer, new patterns of personal consumption, technological advances and structural industry shifts. The report recommends 5 questions to consider to prepare for the future:

  1. What makes us distinctive?
  2. How can we engage consumers in an ongoing dialogue?
  3. Are we set up to reallocate resources swiftly and at scale?
  4. What strategic relationships should we seek out and nurture?
  5. How can we use technology to differentiate, not just enable?

Agility and responsiveness

Organisations need to become agile and responsive to the forces of disruption. Companies need to be able to apply capital, talent and leadership to the greatest consumer segment or business model growth opportunities, before their competitors do. A robust CRM system collating qualitative data is essential for strategic decision making to ensure you have a thorough understanding of what customers want, and are willing to pay for.

Consider your customer touch points, and look at ways you can offer a better customer experience. Relationships and networks have a strong influence on purchase decisions, and the opportunity to engage with customers directly gives you an important feedback loop.


The leading consumer companies will also be technology leaders, with data integration essential for business efficiency gains. In-depth quantitative analytics means effective monitoring of your KPI’s. And who doesn’t have a smartphone these days? It’s essential to adopt a ‘mobile-first’ mindset with a comprehensive mobile strategy.

With increasing pressures from competitors, companies need to think smart:

They ought to be willing to evaluate and rethink every part of their business system, zero in on what makes them different and what truly confers competitive advantage, and drive out all superfluous costs.

Strategic relationships include partnerships within innovation ecosystems. Tapping into external sources of skills and expertise outside of your core competencies can help you strengthen your business across the board. Consider ways you can leverage your competitive advantage, and technology partners who can help your achieve your growth targets.

Are you ready?

Guest post: Michelle Polglase is General Manager for PracticePlus, an I.T company that delivers best practice websites to help their clients succeed in business. Michelle keeps a close eye on trending technologies and the New Zealand I.T Sector.   View Michelle Polglase's LinkedIn profile View Michelle Polglase’s profile