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One on One With Kearney's Shannon Warner

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected different sectors in different ways, but one of its most profound lasting impacts will be felt by retail companies,…

| October 07, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected different sectors in different ways, but one of its most profound lasting impacts will be felt by retail companies, whose entire business models are shifting in response. To make it through to the other side, retailers will need to transform their relationships with customers, make a real investment in digital technology, and bring more aspects of their operations in-house. Kearney recently appointed Shannon Warner as a partner in its consumer practice. She brings to the table more than 25 years of consulting and retail industry experience. We recently spoke to her about some of the challenges and opportunities retail clients are facing right now in these unprecedented times.

Consulting: What's the state of the overall consumer and retail consulting landscape like right now at this stage of COVID-19?

Warner: COVID has impacted the world, which is stating the obvious. There will be an estimated $2.1 trillion loss in retail sales globally in 2020 and the effect of that has destabilized many retailers who were already struggling or who were less advanced in their digital capabilities, especially during the initial lockdown. But I think we're past kind of that shock period and now focused on the long-term transformation and figuring out what are the new strategies to meet the new customer, and really the customer has changed, so retailers are pretty polarized. They either need to focus on figuring out how do they maintain the growth that they've seen, especially through the increase in online demand, or they need to focus on beginning their recovery and sort of resetting the brand value and relationship with their customer. 

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