Insights from CBUS 19 Retail Conference

Research shows that 70% of all organizational transformations fail—and can fail due to a multitude of reasons, including the fast-changing atmosphere of today’s world. In fact, in the last three years, retail has changed more than it has in the last 25. That means change is happening all around us, and it’s happening at an incredible speed. There are no signs of slowing down, so it’s important to prepare yourself and your company for the inevitable changes coming your way. To stay relevant and successful, organizations need to be receptive and prepared for change.

Download Our Whitepaper on the Top 10 Reason Why Organizational Transformations Fail.


Last week we had the chance to attend CBUS 19 Conference in Columbus, Ohio where the theme of the entire conference was retail in today’s world. It was a great event with a lot of useful and timely information and included a Panel Discussion facilitated by our CEO, Beth Thomas about how companies should approach the change efforts within their organizations as they embrace the rapid pace of change in today’s world. Here are our top three takeaways from the conference


1. Retail must be holistic: For the first time ever, today’s society consists of four different generations (Baby Boomer, Gen X, Millennial, Gen Z) living and working together. With all of those different generations comes different perspectives, wants and needs. Everyone—no matter what generation they fall in—are consumers. 

In order to keep up with the changing landscape of retail we must take into consideration the multi-generational, multi-gender and multi-cultural consumer. To do this, organizations need to consider employee engagement, culture alignment and leadership development.

2. It’s all about the customer. Retail revolves around the customer—without them, there would be no industry. And because of this, our employees and associates must be set up for success to serve the customer in every way. It’s imperative to educate and engage your employees so they are equipped to better serve the customer and provide the best customer experience. This creates happy and satisfied customers, which can translate to brand loyalty.

To do this, organizations should follow the 3 Cs:

  • Connected Retail

    o   Provides a seamless customer experience

    o   Requires the integration of supply chain and new delivery methods

    o   Makes it easy and convenient for the customer

  • Community Retail

    o   Inter-Customer & Retail Conversation

    o   Authenticity

    o   “Crowd Sourced” Demand & Engagements (values, community events)

  • Context Retail

    o   Personalized Customer Experience

    o   Requires interaction management

    o   Data-Driven Merchandising Programs

    o   Conversion & Retention

To make sure you’re getting the most out of the 3 Cs, organizations should consider implementing or upgrading their systems, introducing training programs for store associates, defining their culture and utilizing data to increase customer satisfaction.

3. We must serve consumers in multiple ways. Times are changing, and customers no longer are satisfied with one avenue to find what they want. In today’s world we must serve our customers everywhere they engage with retail brands. Retailers must be present and utilize digital, personal and experiential touchpoints to stay top-of-mind.

Below are a few ways to make sure you’re engaging with the customer in the right place at the right time:  

  • Utilize a hybrid model

    o   Need to make it easy to buy anywhere

    o   An example includes: Nordstrom Local. They equip the customer with a personal stylist and source products from stores (online) within a day, but shop has no inventory

  • Brick & Mortar

    o   Online store increases 30% when opening physical store

    o   Offer curbside pickup and in-store delivery

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)

    o   Voice Commerce (Alexa, Siri) and Wearable Commerce (Apple/Galaxy Watch) are important to the customer experience

    o   An example includes: “Nike Live” App – the store identifies you upon entry, tracks customer interests, preferences and order history for a personalized shopping experience


What these three takeaways have in common is they will all bring about CHANGE. We are in a state of constant change, and we need to become Change Ready, Capable and Sustainable. At the end of the day, every business is serving their customer and being a change-capable organization is what it takes to stay relevant in today’s changing environment.

If you’re ready to start your journey and become a change-ready organization, give us a call at 833.244.4908 to discuss how Change 4 Growth can help you perform while you transform.

Valerie Klette-Cusher