New Year revelations

If you are like a lot of people, hanging a new calendar has inspired you to embrace new beginnings and experimentation. Every January morning begins with plans to put insights into action.

And if you are like a lot of other people, you’re feeling desperate for different outcomes in 2013, while still doing things the 2012 way.

Whichever group you are in, take heart. You have time. In fact, now is the perfect time to set your course based on what you learned last year. While the inevitable naysayers might prognosticate about a grim future, I foresee a very positive 2013. Especially for those who are bold enough to take a chance on educated guesses.

Here are a few of my “New Year Revelations” for consumer health care in 2013:

  1. De-cluttered shelves and refined assortments are in. Retailers and manufacturers must embrace “less is more” in this age of attention spans lasting no longer than the time it takes to send a text message. If shopping is confusing and difficult because of too many choices or ill-conceived merchandising, consumers will vote with their feet.
  2. Ubiquitous communication is in. Your message has to be omnipresent. And consistent. All the time. When a consumer meets your brand, she needs a familiar yet unique experience. Why? Because consumers need reassurance that they can count on your brand. They also need reminders of why they like your brand in the first place.
  3. The price is right is in. Pricing is part art, part science, with a dash of math and a pinch of intuition. A recent survey by Boston Consulting Group found that 53% of global retail executives believed pricing should be a top priority, but only 38% felt that the company was taking measures to get it right. Examining pricing from a consumer value perspective in 2013 is a good first step.
  4. Leather wallets are out. Along with canvas, vinyl, burlap or any other textile that protects your paper and plastic money. This is the year the digital wallet makes a splash. Permitting shoppers to make purchases through the platform of their choice is something you need to start planning for now, before demand grows.
  5. Ignoring the data is out. How many strategic decisions do you make without consulting your mountains of loyalty card statistics, consumer feedback and transactional level data? If you answered “less than 50%,” listen up. Why collect the data if you don’t plan to mine it? Seize the opportunities to optimize operations and product plans with well-sifted data. (And if you really want to, you can still make fancy graphs and pretty charts with it.)

There was a time when revelations like these took years to come to fruition. Today’s pace of business makes it entirely possible that these five priorities could be — or must be — tackled before 2014.

But take note: The train has already left the station on some of these initiatives. Are you on board?


Dave Wendland is VP and co-owner of Hamacher Resource Group, a retail healthcare consultancy located near Milwaukee, Wis. He directs business development, product innovation and marketing communications activities for the company and has been instrumental in positioning HRG among the industry’s foremost thought leaders. You may contact him at (414) 431-5301 or learn more at Hamacher.com.

MORE ARTICLES FROM DAVE WENDLAND >