The Why Behind The Bankruptcies with George Nahra

March 2, 2021



Our special guest, George Nahra, brings decades of experience in executing complex digital retail strategies to discuss the root cause behind the so-called retail apocalypse. Why are all these bankruptcies happening? How can brands stand out from their competition when there are so many options out there?

  • We ask these questions and more of our special guest, George Nahra, retail strategy and customer insights consultant for GNZ Consulting and advisory board member for the Retail Analytics Council. George has deep expertise in developing and successfully executing complex digital strategies which place the customer in the center.
  • He strongly believes that decisions are being made without considering what the customer wants or needs, how he or she shops, and what would stand the brand apart from the competition. 
  • George brings his experience as both a consultant and an in-house executive to discuss the root cause behind the insolvencies happening left and right in the retail industry today. 

Conversation Rundown

[ 10:59-13:47 ] Re-imagining stores.
Forward-thinking retailers are re-imagining their storage spaces. Nordstrom is building their stores to reflect the behaviors and preferences in each geographic area. You need to first understand what your customers want from your store experience. Too many stores look alike despite servicing completely different buying demographics. There are countless ways to get creative, but one thing is clear: you must incorporate a digital component into your stores. You cannot have your customers better-armed than your store associates by virtue of the fact that they have a cellphone.

[ 16:48-17:56 ] The online to offline journey of an omnichannel customer.
Today's customer journey goes from the online to the offline worlds and sometimes back again a few times. Retailers need visibility across every dimension of the shopping experience to be successful. And they need to stop treating their physical locations as mere points of sale.

[ 18:28-20:20 ] The different kinds of shopping journeys
There are different kinds of shopping journeys. Sometimes you know what you want, and you just have to pick it up. Sometimes you're there to discover. Sometimes it's a bit of both. For most shoppers, all of the journeys above include a combination of online and offline shopping channels. Retailers need to get out of boardrooms and pay attention to how customers actually go about consuming their products. Only by understanding these flows can retailers provide a truly customer-centric experience.

[ 30;21-32:50 ] What are your stores there for?
A lot of stores are closing right now. But how do you decide which stores to close and which to keep open? Which metrics are you going to look at? You may find that one location performs great in terms of in-store purchases, whilst another one is performing poorly. Does that mean you should shut that location down? Not necessarily. Customers may be using that location to return purchases or to browse before purchasing online. Do the research before making a decision that can negatively impact your customer's experience.

[ 36:28-40:48 ] How do you know that you're customer-centric?
Everyone thinks they are customer-centric. Few actually are. Most of the time, you can tell by the metrics they talk about. Very few retailers use customer-centric metrics to measure their success. You need to imagine that your customer is sitting there in the conference room with you. What would they say? What do they care about? Oftentimes, in order to answer those questions, you need to leave the conference room and visit the stores. Or chat with customers online and get their feedback.

Meet the Experts

George is a senior consumer and retail executive with deep expertise in developing and successfully executing complex strategies that place the customer, digital/mobile, and innovation at their cores. This includes collaborating with executive teams to tackle tough issues, prioritize, and ultimately decide what we should do (robust strategic planning) as well as manage rigorous execution of critical strategic initiatives. In addition, George identified and led the execution of several high-growth and highly profitable businesses that complement a brand's core strategy by driving brand reach/customer acquisition.

Retail Tips & Tweetables

It's been really easy to blame the problems in retail most recently to the shift to digital and Amazon, and the pandemic. But the pandemic was just an accelerant to underlying issues.

The first root cause of bankruptcy is not having a compelling competitive advantage

Letting store experiences get stale, not investing in and refreshing your physical experience is another reason for bankruptcies

Anywhere from 60 to 80 percent of all transactions whether digital or physical is at some point influenced by digital.

Given the importance that digital and mobile are playing in the path to purchase and loyalty, you've got to start with a digital or mobile-centric approach first and then your stores.

Subscribe To Our Podcast