Retail is one of OC&C’s longest-standing strengths –as recognised by our team achieving the highest possible score in the Financial Times' UK Leading Management Consultants 2018. We collaborate globally to serve clients of all varieties and sizes, from multinational grocery giants through to nascent online category specialists:
- Our grocery team partners with market leaders in the UK and around the world to deliver strategic, transformational, and operational projects. Our clients tell us they see us as their 'go to' thought partner for the key strategic and commercial issues they face.
- In apparel, we bring experience from across the value chain to help retailers successfully address consumers' rapidly evolving expectations. By taking a holistic view of proposition and supply chain, we deliver recommendations tailored to both client and customer.
- Multi-category: We work together with 'big box' retailers and department stores to tackle the key questions facing senior management. Our experience covers a broad spectrum of questions including Category Strategy, Operating Model Re-Design, and International Expansion.
- Speciality & Luxury: We have deep expertise across the broad spectrum of categories within retail, ranging from Discount to Luxury, and from Juvenile to Pets.
- Digital Commerce & Marketplaces: Routes to market are changing fast: platforms, social shopping, and direct to consumer are core concepts today that were rarely mentioned ten years ago. We work with retailers to better understand customer needs and missions, and use this to design routes to market and operating models, which deliver real competitive advantage.
The retail landscape has changed immeasurably in recent years driven by a rapidly evolving channel landscape, rapid swings in global and local economies, and increasing globalisation of the consumer. Against this rapidly evolving backdrop our customer-centric approach, robust analytical mindset, and dedication to working in partnership with senior management have never been more relevant.
We bring an unparalleled understanding of the customer, and a determined, analytical mindset to deliver results together with retailers globally
Next Generation Operating Models
Brands continue to find themselves under pressure from all directions. Cost inflation, staff shortages, and ever-changing customer needs are all contributing to margin compression, which is quickly rising to unsustainable levels. While increasing consumption has offered some relief to the sector, as ESG increasingly influences consumer decisions volumes are expected to slow or stagnate.
Doing more with less
Overproduction is a long-lasting, deep-rooted problem for brands. 15-45 billion items of clothing produced every year are wasted, mostly ending up in landfill or incinerated. This is both a huge sustainability problem and a costly commercial one. Yet improving buying processes to better align with future demand can enable brands to reduce wastage, improve operating efficiency, and ultimately drive value.
7 key reflections for the retail sector
Despite a period of undeniable economic and political turbulence, the retail sector has performed resiliently, with spend holding up stronger in Q4 than many had feared. However, consumer confidence remains at an all-time low, and with continued inflation, labour shortages and supply chain challenges, retailers now face a period of belt-tightening. The next 6-9 months will be harder than the last.
Loyalty programmes have long been used as a mechanism to secure customer loyalty and many have become significantly more sophisticated in recent years. Our latest insight unpicks what it takes to generate value from a loyalty programme across the Retail, Travel and Hospitality sectors.
The forecourt of the future
Electric vehicle (EV) adoption across Europe is unstoppable. For fuel station forecourts this presents great change and opportunity in equal measure. In our latest report, we look at how the race to net zero is impacting the evolution of EV ownership, the future of charging and what consumers care about most, alongside its impact on forecourts. We also consider how forecourts can approach their strategy to futureproof business models and embrace the opportunities that lay ahead.
All about value
In this, our 12th annual Retail Proposition Index, published at a time when consumers are grappling with cost-of-living pressures and confidence is at a 50 year low, we reveal how consumer attitudes and behaviours are shifting.
Moving consumers to sustainable choices
The UK retail sector has set itself an ambitious target of being net zero by 2040. It’s become clear the sector cannot achieve this alone and moving consumers to more sustainable choices is a crucial component for success. In conjunction with the British Retail Consortium, we’ve spoken to thousands of UK consumers, uncovering how aware they are about where their behaviour drives emissions and the actions they’re already taking, alongside how ready and willing they are to adapt in the future.
The Right Fit
The Apparel industry has been subject to major market forces: the pandemic accelerated online penetration by 5-10 years, new marketplace and resale models have intensified competition, Instagram, Tik Tok and now the metaverse have proliferated channels to market, and consumers and regulators are continually raising the sustainable fashion bar.
Private Equity & Transactions 2021
2021 was a record year for transactions globally – as activity remained exceptionally strong despite the ongoing challenges of the COVID pandemic, global supply chain issues and the challenges of rising inflation and energy prices during the year.
Just fifteen years ago, the biggest threat to traditional commerce was the internet. Brands that were quick to launch transactional websites (and later apps) emerged as victors. Now those same brands face losing out to the emerging dominance of online marketplaces – the disruptor has become the disrupted.
A breath of fresh care
In this, our 11th annual Retail Proposition Index, the results show that the pandemic has shaken up consumers’ values, fundamentally shifting expectations and behaviours.
The luxury of choice: 5 keys to success on multi-brand online platforms
From plucky upstarts to fixtures of the mainstream shopping scene, online retail platforms have become a growing pillar of sales for premium and luxury markets
Opinion: Never again should we accept the notion of non-essential workers
It took a global pandemic to prompt society to reflect on the importance of work performed not only by healthcare and home care providers, but by delivery drivers, grocery store employees and other critical but modestly paid workers.
Four sustainability myths: are they holding your business back?
The Covid-19 crisis has elevated the importance of sustainability, but we must banish old thinking to build back better, writes Deidre Sorensen
Hitting reset on luxury fashion
The luxury fashion industry is undergoing an important phase of transformation, initiated before the pandemic and now accelerated by it