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Inspiration

4 Ways to Lead Change in Your Retail Organization

By Sharon Shapiro

Change is essential for today’s retail organizations — from meeting the needs of hyperadoptive consumers to keeping pace with industry disruptors, that much is abundantly clear.

What’s less clear is how to effectively lead a change effort for your organization.

What Does it Take to Be a Retail Change Agent?

Accepting change is difficult; leading a change is even more challenging. However, when done effectively it can be a powerful catalyst for growth.

So what does it take to be a change agent? At the highest level, it requires leading a positive transformation by focusing on key changes to technology, processes and people. Diving deeper, it involves:

  • Developing a vision for change
  • Effectively communicating the impact of the change
  • Developing a plan to enact change
  • Overcoming resistance and gaining buy-in
  • Executing on the plan for change

Hitting all those marks is no doubt a tall order, but it is possible as demonstrated by Bluecore’s 2020 Retail Change Agent Award winners. These 10 marketers have successfully advocated for change within their organization and tied those efforts to positive business results like a 16% increase in channel revenue, 230x increase in return on ad spend and 500% increase in inbox placement rate.

In doing so, these 10 marketers also provided clear paths for what it takes to enact change — each in their own way.

Introducing 4 Types of Retail Change Agents

As intimidating as change can be for those affected, it can be even more intimidating to lead a change initiative. However, there are steps you can take to feel more comfortable taking the reins.

One of the best places to start is to identify your style for leading change. Understanding your style can help you determine how to get started on your initiatives and provide role models for guidance.

With that in mind, we’ve identified four types of change agents:

1) The Visionary

Visionaries see the opportunity for change and develop a vision for an ideal future state. They bring strong leadership to the project from start to finish, motivating team members and sharing best practices.

Meet the leaders:

2) The Data Guru

Data Gurus know that bolstering their case with data is the best way to win support. They arm themselves with data at every step, from firm research about the potential impact of the change to data about challenges with the current state. Along the way, they take a test-first approach so that they can react to what the data tells them.

Meet the leaders:

3) The Ally

Allies recognize that it takes a village, and they rally the troops accordingly. They know that having a team — whether they be cross-functional partners or executive sponsors — significantly lowers the barriers to change, and they have what it takes to bring that team together.

Meet the leaders:

4) The Planner

Planners think through every detail of the change and map it out each step of the way. Their attention to detail ensures that no stone goes unturned and that there’s a clear path to success, covering everything from a communication plan to how to get past hurdles that arise.

Meet the leaders:

What Type of Retail Change Agent Are You?

Knowing your style for approaching change should help you feel more comfortable taking the lead and identifying the best place to start. With that in mind, what type of retail change agent are you? Take this quiz to find out! 

Sharon Shapiro

Sharon Shapiro

Sharon leads Bluecore's content marketing program, collaborating with top retailers and strategists to highlight the latest trends in retail marketing, spotlight industry leaders and share advice on how marketers can stay ahead of the curve. An experienced story teller, she has spent her career building content marketing programs for B2B SaaS companies. Sharon has had works featured in MarketingProfs and Content Science Review..