But maybe trying to stop showrooming isn’t the answer — perhaps it should be encouraged. That’s the notion that two of retail’s biggest executives put forth recently. Walmart.com president and chief executive Joel Anderson has released a mobile app that allows customers access to an online circular, but only while they are in the store. Other companies offer coupons or propose product pairings — a sweater to go with the skirt you are considering — through their in-store mobile apps.
Only a couple of months into the job, Best Buy chief executive Hubert Joly said last month that he is “embracing” showrooming by offering to match online prices in the store.
And if stores are really just becoming showrooms, they ought to become good ones. Taylor Chess, senior vice president of retail for the Peterson Cos., developers of National Harbor, said that showcase stores opened directly by big-name brands, like Northface, Nike and Carhartt are likely to catch on with others.
“The next big thing is utilizing your store as a showroom for just getting your products out there as opposed to a lifeblood for your sales,” Chess said.
— Jonathan O’Connell
Companies large and small have long looked to succession planning for top leadership positions as a key way to maintain continuity and stability at their businesses.
Brian Kropp, managing director at Arlington-based corporate research firm CEB, said that in the new year, many companies are likely to rethink their approach to grooming their next generation of leaders.
Kropp said he sees companies moving toward “leadership pooling,” a model in which the organization identifies and nurtures a pool of its most talented individuals and prepares them to be able to step into a variety of different roles.
This would mark a shift from the status quo, in which many firms work to prime a specific person for a specific job. The reason for the new approach, Kropp said, is that technological innovation and globalization are putting the business world in a state of fast-moving flux.
“The roles that are most important now, half of them didn’t exist” five years ago, Kropp said.
This change in strategy, Kropp said, could have ripple effects on how businesses look to recruit, develop and pay their top-performing workers.
— Sarah Halzack
The legal industry is buzzing about the latest spate of mergers between leading U.S. law firms and firms in Canada, Australia, Europe, Africa and South America that are forming a new breed of global legal giants with staggering manpower.
Among the biggest mergers announced during the past quarter were SNR Denton — whose partners approved a three-way merger with Canadian firm Fraser Milner Casgrain and European firm Salans to form a 2,500-lawyer firm — and K&L Gates, which expanded its Asia-Pacific reach by absorbing Australian firm Middletons and creating a combined 2,300-lawyer operation. Baker & McKenzie picked up Estudio Echecopar, a mid-size firm in Lima, Peru, and Rudolph Bernstein & Associates, a small boutique in Johannesburg, and now has 4,000 attorneys worldwide.