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Finally had a chance to catch up with the Merchandise for Success study released by the General Merchandise Distributors Council (GMDC), which looked at the role that general merchandise and HBC play in making retailers more competitive and challenged “current paradigms relative to GM and HBC merchandising.”

“One of the most important of the report’s ‘Big Ideas’ addresses channel-blurring,” says Roy White, GMDC’s vice president for education. “The research is telling us that consumers don’t care about channels. This means there is no longer ‘best in class’ but just the best. So a supermarket, for example, can merchandise for excellence in an area like housewares – instead of the traditional modest-assortment, convenience-item approach – and do so successfully provided it executes competently.”

Not surprisingly, since the research was commissioned by GMDC, the report says that “GM and HBC are the leading catalysts in changing trip behavior.”
KC's View:
We would agree that channel blurring is a dominant phenomenon in terms to shaping – or destabilizing – consumer behavior. We’ve been saying as much for years, suggesting people rarely say, “I need to the traditional supermarket” or ‘I need to go to the membership club” or I need to go to the dollar store.”

That said, we think “competent execution” isn’t good enough anymore. Excellence has to be the starting point…and then a retailer has to look for every possible edge and differentiator.