The Age of Inclusive Commerce

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It gives me great pleasure to set the stage for our 2018 edition of Breakthrough Insights, and to introduce myself as the senior vice president of insights and operations who oversees the analyst team driving our retail thought leadership.


With this edition of Breakthrough Insights, we find ourselves fully immersed in the age of inclusive commerce. The world of retail is now one without borders, where channels, platforms, and even industries are blurring. Without these confines, commerce becomes all-inclusive. For disrupters, this reality is liberating; for everyone else, it can be paralyzing.


As you absorb the global viewpoints represented in this collection of some of our most thought-provoking work from the past few months, I invite and challenge you to take the former position. To embrace the excitement and liberation inherent in today’s uncertain retail landscape requires focus and perpetual motion, and the relentless process of planning versus being confined by plans. For many longer-standing retail players, this notion provokes tremendous discomfort. In his piece on growing in an uncomfortable world, Chief Knowledge Officer Bryan Gildenberg lays out the beginning of a road map to address that discomfort. We can’t fix what we don’t know, and the first step to understanding how best-in-class companies are conquering discomfort and winning is to define more specifically what makes a strategic “uncomfortable place.”


At the same time, thriving in the age of inclusive commerce, requires manufacturers and retailers to achieve three things simultaneously. They must be able to evolve toward emerging retail strategies and skill sets, expand through new and incremental pathways,
and engage more meaningfully with a rapidly diversifying shopper base.




The advancement of inclusive commerce alters the criteria for retail success and challenges more traditional perceptions of profitability, partnership, and approaches to innovation. In his examination of Amazon’s “no profit” strategy, Alvaro Morilla forces us to rethink what it means to be profitable. One of the many takeaways here is the opportunity for brands and retailers to foster a culture and mindset that broaden the KPIs we attribute to success.


From evolving our perceptions of profitability to confronting the development of a new retail behemoth overnight, Derya Yildiz and Ray Gaul walk us through the implications of the Sainsbury’s-Asda merger. With the speed of retail mergers nowadays, acquisitions and cross-industry partnerships are poised to accelerate. For that reason, there are implications here for everyone seeking to maintain strategic focus as new accounts and competitors take shape before our eyes.


Evolving in the age of inclusive commerce is as much about rethinking profitability and partnership as it is about eliminating friction. When it comes to achieving more seamless retail experiences, the future is already here in China. By analyzing China’s eCommerce heavyweights, our global research team draws upon the online-offline retail innovations of Alibaba and to spotlight what we might be missing as we operate within our own silos.




While the reality of inclusive commerce forces us to rethink retail strategies and measures for success, it also opens avenues for growth beyond retail. As manufacturers and retailers determine where to place their bets in this environment, many new and incremental pathways for growth are emerging.


As shoppers spend more time and money outside traditional retail and as they look for more solutions, experiences, and social interactions, the current environment is ripe for social commerce to take off. In their terrific joint effort, Hanna Ryngmark, Meaghan Werle, and Tiffany Hogan look at how social commerce is already flourishing in beauty retailing and give us a sneak peek into the potential CPG impact.


From social commerce to the commerce of cannabis, Kate Senzamici makes the case for why everyone in retail should be paying closer attention to this growing “green” movement. Politics aside, a new CPG category is blooming as support for cannabis grows locally and globally. The retail disruption that this rapidly developing category poses cuts across categories, industries, shoppers, and applications. Whether cannabis hurts retail — or becomes an incremental opportunity — depends on how industry players respond. In this case, more knowledge is power.




In breaking through retail boundaries, inclusive commerce also drastically broadens the competitive landscape. As competition expands and intensifies, growth will reward those who can secure and sustain the tightest connections to a rapidly diversifying consumer base.


Understanding future shoppers is the first step in connecting with them. Anusha Couttigane and Tiffany Hogan address key questions to ask to succeed with these shoppers. Amid a rapidly fragmenting shopper base, their piece explains why focusing on four common shopper behaviors and attitudes can be more productive than mass-audience initiatives.


Future shoppers will not only behave and perceive things differently, but they will celebrate differently as well. In an engaging piece on the new retail calendar, our global analyst team challenges the industry to create a new promotional calendar that focuses on emerging (and increasingly profitable) occasions. Drawing from examples at retail today, these new celebrations have profound implications for how retailers, manufacturers, and shoppers align moving forward.


Lastly, being able to connect, track, and engage shoppers can also depend on what can be a volatile regulatory environment. The latest example comes from the U.S., where Christina Anderson and Doug Hermanson weigh the online retailing impacts of the Supreme Court’s sales tax ruling. When it comes to online taxes or even data privacy concerns, shoppers will be invested as long as retailers provide enough transparency, convenience, and unique value to override these other concerns.


This collection of our thought leadership is just the start of a more comprehensive focus on inclusive commerce and what it will take for the retail community to thrive in this rapidly evolving environment. If you are interested in learning more, we would love to see you at our Retail Insights Conference this December in Atlanta. Until then, please contact me with any questions. In this era of inclusive, boundless commerce, our promise to you is as firm as ever: to empower you with the data-driven direction you need to break through your own boundaries and prosper.


Happy reading.

Sara Al-Tukhaim

Senior Vice President, Insights and Operations

Uncomfortable places:

Key questions when planning for the future shopper landscape

By: Bryan Gildenberg

We lay out the start of a road map to address the discomfort many retail players are feeling about growing in uncomfortable places.

Read More >

Is Amazon profitable?

Analyzing the retailer’s ‘no profit’ strategy

By: Alvaro Morilla

This analysis looks at how Amazon’s financial engine works and what it means for suppliers to deal with a company that deliberately operates under a “no profit” model.

Read More >


Decoding the largest merger in U.K. retail

By: Derya Yildiz and Ray Gaul

Our in-depth analysis looks at how the merged business will impact the market and the implications for suppliers.

Read More >

China’s eCommerce heavyweights offer lessons in online-offline retail innovation

By: Kantar Consulting Research Team

The big eCommerce players in China have quickly evolved from being imitators to innovators. We highlight some of their lessons in online-offline retail innovation.

Read More >

How social commerce is taking flight in beauty retailing

By: Hanna Ryngmark, Meaghan Werle, and Tiffany Hogan

By analyzing beauty as a category, brands can learn how to capitalize on social commerce to drive engagement and conversion.

Read More >

As support for cannabis grows, a new CPG category blooms

By: Kate Senzamici

Cannabis crosses categories, industries, shopper segments, and applications. As legalization takes hold and sales increase, the time is now for the retail industry to take cannabis seriously.

Read More >

Mind the(generation) gap:

Key questions when planning for the future shopper landscape

By: Anusha Couttigane and Tiffany Hogan

Informed by four key retail trends, brands should be asking these questions to succeed with future shoppers amid the disruptions ahead.

Read More >

The new

retail calendar

By: Kantar Consulting Research Team

New occasions mean new opportunities for retailers. This guide provides insights into how you can activate this new promotional calendar meaningfully and profitably.

Read More >

The Supreme Court’s sales tax ruling:

Weighing the online retailing impacts

By: Christina Anderson and Doug Hermanson

Here is how the Supreme Court’s decision on Internet sales taxes impacts shoppers, large retailers, small and midsized retailers, and marketplaces.

Read More >


© 2018 Kantar Retail LLC