- Walmart Chief Customer Officer Janey Whiteside spoke at the National Retail Federation’s Chapter One conference.
- Whiteside said that retailers must be prepared to ditch the old “normal” and “meet customers” with expedited and diverse fulfillment options.
- “I would imagine these next 12-to-24 months, people aren’t going to quite know: is it normal?” Whiteside said.
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As the coronavirus pandemic drags on, people around the world are looking forward to returning to some semblance of normalcy.
But according to Walmart Chief Customer Officer Janey Whiteside, getting back to a pre-pandemic “normal” isn’t in the cards for most retailers. Speaking at this year’s virtual National Retail Federation’s Chapter One conference on Tuesday, Whiteside offered her views on the 2021 retail and economic landscape.
“It’s interesting how many people I’ve noticed recently talking about going back to normal and then saying, ‘Yeah, but not everything about that normal was really that great,'” Whiteside said during a session with Deloitte’s Chief Global Economist Ira Kalish. “‘So how do I redefine what normal is going to be?'”
According Whiteside, retailers will have to contend with an influx of online commerce, even as more vaccines are distributed to the general population. As a result, retailers must answer questions around leveraging physical and digital shops to “create really personalised experiences” and facilitate “customer choice” in terms of buying options.
“Having more options will be incredibly important,” Whiteside said. “Some days, I’m going to want something within an hour, or a day, or a week. I’m going to need retailers to come to me where I am.”
Whiteside said that retailers must continue to view customers as “North Stars,” because there is much that remains uncertain about a post-vaccine, post-pandemic retail environment.
“I would imagine these next 12-t0-24 months, people aren’t going to quite know ‘is it normal?'” Whiteside said. “So having the ability to learn with our customers, understand where they want to go, is going to be incredibly important.”
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