If you missed our Retail Leaders Roundtable on “The New Normal in Retail,” you’re in luck! Read and watch along for a recap of last week’s conversation with five retail industry experts on the changes they expect to see in the months ahead, and how to plan them.
The roundtable hosted by Repsly’s CEO, Matthew Brogie, included perspectives from investors, brands, and service providers, and featured Max Baumann of Basemakers, Jim Goldberg of ESM Capital, Billy Bosch from ICONIC Protein, and Jack Belsito of First Beverage Ventures.
Each expert focused on a key area to highlight, including consumer demand shifts and the impact on product mix, coverage strategies for retail execution, and changes brands are making to how they approach their go-to-market, promotion, and channel strategies.
Max Baumann, CEO, Basemakers
The conversation kicked off with the founder and CEO of Basemakers, Max Baumann, discussing the various trends he’s seeing today, and how to drive the most growth from those channels. He’s noticed a massive decline in foodservice and convenience, a huge rise in grocery and eCommerce, and some major changes to the shopper missions.
Since the new normal has set in, the entire shopping experience is based around the stock up mission, and this has massive implications on strategy for brands. How can you design your strategy to maximize the stock up shopper? Focus on these three key areas:
- Availability - Must be regularly in stock.
- Visibility - Must be easily seen by shoppers.
- Product/Price Mix - Products that have higher multiples (10-packs).
Jim Goldberg, CEO, ESM Capital
Jim began with an investor’s outlook on the next 12 months in retail. The comfort foods that many consumers were buying during the earlier periods of quarantine will begin to lose momentum, and we’ll start to see a shift back to brands focused on health-based, nutritional, and sustainable products. Jim is focused on the biodegradable and compostable measures brands are taking to contribute to cleaning up the environment.
Jim also believes in only investing in founders that have financial skin in the game, as well as a disciplined management team led by a great leader. His founder perspective is focused on rethinking the entire food chain to address a handful of key areas including:
- Healthier foods grown in conditions which equate to healthier products and consumers
- Farmers/ranchers financial prosperity
- Soil health/regenerative farming practices and carbon sequestration
- Organic - no glyphosate or dicamba, with low or no-till practices; crop rotation and livestock incorporation
- No greenwashed products
Billy Bosch,CEO, ICONIC Protein
Billy focused on how to invest in your team during these difficult times. He believes in performing audits of his team members to assure that everyone on board is considered an “A player,” which he described as the key personnel needed to be successful. He also viewed this period as a time to cut down on the "C players," or find new roles for them within the company where they can find more success. He viewed his focus on a performance-driven culture as an opportunity for companies to be better-resourced.
Jack Belsito, Managing Partner, First Beverage Ventures
Jack closed out the conversation with the taste of a brand investor’s perspective on the future of retail. He noted that the bar growth and early-stage company success have been raised given the new challenges shoppers face every day. Proof of future cash flow is important for companies looking for investment opportunities. There’s also been noticeable increasing pressure variety and choice in supply chains, which a new focus on simplifying and favoring scale.
Jack also sees consumers gravitating towards value brands, and brands that make good on their promise and are trustworthy. This directly ties to a new era of social responsibility for brands. Now more than ever, leaders understand the value of having sustainable products that are not only good for the consumers, but also the environment.
For example, in April, Hilton teamed up with Lysol and Mayo Clinic to elevate hygienic practices from check-in to check-out with a new standard of cleaning. In order to survive in the new normal, companies and brands will need to evolve and think quickly in relation to their choices in route to market, brand associations, and traditional spending.
Ben is Repsly's content marketing manager, focusing on digital storytelling through blogs, video and podcast production, and social media. He recently served as Bullhorn’s senior content marketing specialist and is also the founder of InVision Media, a video production company that helped small businesses promote their message. Before joining the workforce, Ben was the captain, president, and social media manager of the men's ice hockey team at the University of Maryland. In his spare time, he enjoys rollerblading with his dog Chewbacca, watching the Boston Bruins, listening to classic rock, and playing competitive games of Settlers of Catan. Follow Ben on Twitter: @bennybyline.