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Retailers Need OODA Loops

January 14, 2012

OODA Loop as Defined by Military Strategist John Boyd

Retailers need action.  They need people coming into their stores, visiting their websites, making their cash register ring.

Because the market is always changing, they need to use OODA Loops.  Retail is like a battle and OODA Loops are a military technique used for combat.

The OODA Loop is a great technique for retail marketing.  The OODA Loop is a methodology from the military which stands for: Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act.

The faster you can go through this paradigm then loop and reload, the more effective you will be as a retailer.

We employ creative strategies that require analysis and understanding of the market to define the messages we send out.  The retailer needs this thought too, but quickly.  And rather than spend too much time strategizing, like the commander on the battlefield, the retailer must emphasize action.

  1. The retailer must observe what is happening, see what the sales resistance is, where they are not connecting with the customer, where service shortfalls may be.
  2. The retailer then orients the resources available for consideration to address the issues and review these options.  This involves effective communication the retailers team so they understand what the issue is
  3. Next a decision is made on what needs to be done to address the challenge at hand.  This decision is communicated to the team.
  4. Finally the team has to act and act in unison as a team.

Observing the changing situation creates the beginning of the next OODA loop for the retailer and the cycle continues again.  In addition, at each step of the way, information is fed back to correct and adjusted the direction.

While retail is a constant battle, a few things we can learn from the military can help improve the retailer’s odds of success.  Like all types of conflict and action, talking about it is one thing, but it has to be committed to action to make it work.

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