Coca-Cola’s Julie Hamilton had answers at the annual World Retail Congress in Rome, Italy. The forum brings together several hundred top-tier executives across all major retail sectors, including food, beverages, fashion, technology, entertainment and finance.
In a headlining speech, the company's chief customer and commercial leadership officer discussed five major themes reshaping the world of retail:
1. Changing and Changing Fast
Today’s retail landscape is defined by disruption. Hamilton pointedly described how technology is empowering shoppers at an unprecedented pace. “They have a much deeper understanding of the ramifications of their purchase... and they demand faster, better and more accurate information about the products they buy and its community and environmental impact.” Traditional retail models are also challenged by the growth of non-linear paths to purchase “that can involve social media, store visits and online purchase, sometimes all at once,” she added. Hamilton said that although these changes may appear to be “redefining everything we do” in retail, this landscape is in many ways not new to
2. Understanding the ‘Past is Present’
It’s important to recognise the “past is already present” in the world of retail. Because consumers’ shopping habits are changing so quickly, all companies – including
3. The Importance of the ‘Three Rs’
The key to any business staying relevant is based on what Hamilton calls the “Three R’s.” Companies must deliver:
• The right and relevant brands;
• The right retail experience; and
• The right kind of consumer engagement and marketing.
For right and relevant brands, Hamilton singled out
“Unlike 100 or even five years ago,” she said, “today our consumers can enjoy a
Hamilton said companies must also support their brands with the right retail experiences, which are increasingly all about “customisation and personalisation.” Hamilton walked attendees through the "Share a Coke" and Coke Bottle 100 campaigns, which allow
4. How Execution Drives Growth
Flawless execution is another differentiator in today’s marketplace.
Hamilton talked about
5. The Case for Optimism
Hamilton closed out her World Retail Congress remarks by making a potent and personal case for optimism. “I’m a shamelessly glass-half-full person,” she said. The consumer landscape won’t ever stop changing. What’s important, Hamilton argued, is to step back from the swirl and recognise the “amazing potential" out there – for Coke's customers, consumers, employees and stakeholders around the world.
“There aren’t that many industries that continually let you re-invent yourself and push the boundaries of creativity and capability,” she concluded.
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