The 5 S’s for Retail Success

At the upcoming Retail Recharged event on 20th October we will be exploring 4 key themes. Operational Excellence is the third stream we are exploring and our partner, Esri tells you more about why this is relevant to all retailers.

In this blog, we endeavour to translate (or at least relate) McKinsey & Company’s 5 elements of marketing’s new golden age into 5 success criteria for the modern Retailer. The original article (“The dawn of marketing’s new golden age”, by Jonathan Gordon and Jesko Perrey) was published in the February 2015 edition of McKinsey Quarterly under Insights & Publications, and is thoroughly recommended by this blog’s author as a genuinely insightful read (as one might reasonably expect from McKinsey in fairness!)

There is a constant battle for the consumer’s attention

McKinsey identifies the proliferation of platforms having manifested itself in a ‘constant battle for the consumer’s attention’, and indeed it is this conflict that is forcing Retailers to ‘stress-test’ their business models on an almost daily basis to remain relevant as much as successful.

Below we’ve taken McKinsey’s 5 elements and looked at how they can help inform the questions, the answers to which could enable Retailers to identify what needs to change in their operations, or their approach to customer engagement, in ways that might, just might let them make a meaningful leap forwards.


do I really understand my customer’s omni-channel journey, and what this means in practice for how, when and – critically – where they make their purchasing choices?


can I translate the plethora of science / data into actions to improve the customer experience, particularly in-store?


am I embracing new media to tell stories that resonate with my customers using platforms / channels that they actually use and trust? Similarly, am I communicating effectively within my business, in terms of managing my Execs’ expectations and keeping them appraised of progress on key initiatives?


am I enabling my front line teams to move quickly enough, whether to intervene to rescue a failing promotion, or to capitalise on a localised window of opportunity presented by a competitor’s activity or lack thereof?


is everyone who needs to make decisions singing from the same hymn sheet; am I truly confident there’s only one version of the truth in my organisation? 

It’s never rocket science, but perhaps occasionally it takes something as simple as 5 points from an entity as cerebral and venerable as McKinsey & Company to drive the message home.

And, if 5’s too many; if we had to pick just 2…it’s got to be Story and Speed every time. Getting something compelling out there before everyone else has had a chance to respond will generate opportunities time and time again.

At Esri, we enable organisations to quickly and easily empower those who need them with powerful location-based insights, anywhere, any time. Retailers use our location analytics software to:

  • assess and visualise cost variations across the store portfolio
  • measure online penetration and identify scope for further growth
  • scenario-model and manage highly targeted promotions
  • interrogate potential root causes of customer complaints, out-of-stocks or mark-downs

communicate progress updates for key operating initiatives to the executive audience through our unique Story-Map format, virtually guaranteeing greater levels of attention and engagement.

In short, retailers who have adopted Esri’s location platform make consistently good decisions with high confidence levels, thereby accelerating time-to-intervention and contributing to genuine operational excellence.

“The Theory of Everything” might have won a deserved Oscar, but let’s not let science get in the way of a good story. Then again, come to think of it, isn’t that the perfect example of a good story helping convince the audience of the merits of the science in the first place??


Esri UK
Sponsors of ‘Operational Excellence’
Esri provides world-class solutions that deliver insight on demand and power millions of business decisions every day, yielding operational efficiencies and improved customer service.