We bring deep industry and hands-on operating experience to help grow profitable businesses through our major practice areas.
- NEW BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
At Sprosty Network, we help startups and established businesses develop new lines of business, products, services and strategic partnerships. Whether taking an initiative all the way from idea to retail channel success or taking on a specific need, we get you there faster with a greater chance of success.
Helping you achieve the growth you desire.
We provide broad quantitative and qualitative industry analyses with customer and industry insights to identify white-space opportunities. We help establish a set of growth options with an analytical framework to establish priorities for further development. This typically includes:
- Customer insights
- Market sizing
- Value-chain analysis
- Competitive forces
- Key technologies
- Strategic partner mapping
Offering you the in-depth expertise you require.
Our expertise in developing and negotiating large, and often complex, strategic partnerships accelerates, de-risks and reduces the cost of developing new businesses. Our broad network across the connected-consumer technology ecosystem includes:
- Original design manufacturers and original equipment manufacturers (ODM/OEMs)
- Core technologies
- Service providers
- Design and engineering
- Back-end operations support systems and business support systems (OSS/BSS)
- Distribution channels (retail, distributors and online)
Bringing you the experienced team you need.
We bring a team led by operators who have significant senior executive experience in large enterprises, as well as a proven ability to consistently develop and scale new business within complex environments. Our project teams are staffed with the cross-functional skills needed for each challenge.
- GROWTH STRATEGY
We partner with other businesses—retailers, service providers, manufacturers, distributors and startups —to identify strategic growth opportunities and drive them to profitable execution. To that end, we have developed a modular approach that delivers an efficient, predictable and repeatable path to stand up new businesses.
Our approach combines modules in:
- Strategy: Customer research, market and competitive analysis to identify, and evaluate opportunities; develop compelling business cases for winning concepts
- Innovation: Pragmatic business design approach to translate broad insights into differentiated customer value propositions, business models and paths to market
- Business architecture: Determine the specific capabilities, processes, talent and partners to stand up a business; leverage a lean approach to reduce cost, risk and time to market
- Strategic partnerships: Identify, evaluate, and support negotiations with the business partners required to launch and execute successfully
- Branding and marketing: Develop brand value proposition, market positioning and go-to-market, and channel management strategies
- Program management: Manage or support the project planning and execution to bring strategies from ideas through retail execution
New initiatives are similar to new businesses.
Big, organic growth opportunities can seem obvious, but large companies frequently stumble when pursuing such strategies. Stumbling is especially prominent in adjacent spaces where success requires new customer insights, new capabilities and new partnerships.
These initiatives seem similar to entrepreneurial startups. But unlike a startup, you already have customers, cash, capabilities, etc. So why can it be so difficult? Why do so many of these efforts follow the start-stop repeat cycle?
The answer lies in skill and experience gaps, and hard knocks. Often, junior managers who lead these efforts do not have the general management skills or organizational agility to communicate a compelling vision, develop a sound business case, or establish the internal and external partnerships required for a lean startup.
From idea to retail, we do it differently.
Our team members have a history of working in large enterprises and startups and have held various titles, including business owner, senior executive, operator and consultant. We have repeatedly stood-up new businesses, new product categories, and new growth initiatives where the point of customer acquisition is in big-box and online retail.
Our retail-back approach starts with a vision of what success looks like at retail, at scale, physical and online, and then works backwards to influence every aspect of every project.
- RETAIL GO-TO-MARKET STRATEGY
Virtually every supplier in consumer tech covets it: retail/“omni-channel” distribution. Retailers want to find and quickly scale the next big “thing”—the differentiated product that gives them an advantage over their competitors. New and even more mature product companies do not realize that when a retail merchant says “yes,” the work has just begun. Execution is where they fail.
In a big box store—where it is easy to be drowned out by the cacophony of displays, messages, promotions, etc. —you have mere seconds to catch a customer’s awareness. Even if you grab their attention, it is incredibly difficult to translate those few precious seconds into an impression that makes the customer stop in their tracks.
The cost of retail is high. You have to get it right.
With customers’ social networks and online ratings and reviews playing a larger role in retail, failure may not be limited to poor turnover. It can jeopardize the future of a company through negative brand and product perception.
- RETAIL FORMATS & SWAS (Store Within a Store)
Re-inventing a retail experience can be one of the most energizing and transformational corporate experiences. When done properly, it can lead to years of sustained growth. Misguided efforts can push retailers to the edge of a cliff.
JC Penney’s well-publicized store remodel and re-branding led to the alienation of their core customer and more than doubled their operating losses. RadioShack’s continued re-branding and store iterations caused them to lose their way with their loyal following: the “do it yourself” customer.
Grounding everything in strategy.
Retail reinvention reflects core strategy and is the “heart” of retail. We help our clients clarify strategy; reflect that in retail space design; and then assist or manage the build out, validation and scale-up stages of the process. And, like good carpenters, measuring maniacally all the while.
Our work on retail reinvention starts with company strategy and direction. As such, our retail format work builds on a deep analysis of relevant industry, category and consumer trends. We gather input from employees that work with customers every day. This strong handle on the macro-environment leads to strategy and category participation decisions that will anchor an omni-channel retail strategy.
Designing the desired consumer experience.
Only after we have clarity of industry direction and alignment on corporate strategy and customer needs can we move forward to discuss the expected consumer experience. We will pull in corporate and store employees to discuss the experience, as well as the retail space design that will deliver this experience.
From this point on, we leverage our decades of operating experience defining and launching retail spaces, from the smallest categories to full store formats. To this effort, we bring a range of expertise, including:
- Space design
- Visual merchandising
- Vendor negotiations
- Labor planning/staffing
- Overall financial planning
Turning design into reality.
With a fully vetted physical or omni-channel design in place, we work to turn the design into reality:
- Managing space build outs
- Negotiating with suppliers
- Creating marketing plans
- Crafting operating plans
We focus all of our efforts on getting initial test stores up and operational. Once live, a rigorous learning cycle leads to fast revisions as we first drive customer satisfaction and then the many byproduct metrics, including overall P&L, return on capital, space, labor, and inventory metrics. Once proven, the new retail experience can scale to select markets and then expand nationally.
- BUSINESS ARCHITECTURE
From auto insurance and connected cars to home healthcare, home security and automation, technology is rapidly forcing change in the the way products and services are delivered. Many startups are disrupting how incumbent providers compete, as agile product development and decision making allow startups to get to market faster than larger, more established companies.
Historically, IT departments handled platform or technology decisions, as they had the established budgets and expertise required to bring a value proposition to life. As the products and services have changed with technology, so has the mechanism by which companies choose technology solutions. The expertise required to make decisions now sits, more often than not, with business owners.
Leaders must ultimately assess the need to build and own back-office platforms and solutions while viable 3rd party alternatives now exist. “X-as-a-service” capabilities free up companies to focus on their specific point-of-market differentiation. The trend to rely on third-party partners for mission-critical operating processes and systems is allowing many companies to accelerate time to market while reducing capital and execution risk.
Shifting cost curves of technology solutions to drive scale in connected CE.
Many of our clients have a reference point for new initiative development rooted in traditional large capital expenses with competing internal company priorities. Additionally, many new initiatives require the onboarding of new capabilities and know-how to support the types of complex product and service sales that are capturing a large and growing share of connected CE sales.
How Sprosty Network can help.
Sprosty Network has been watching the massive shifts that have taken place all the way from switching (connectivity) and support to hosting and enablement. These shifts have allowed our team to work with companies in various stages of development to shift their focus to the customer and help build a business architecture that allows for an accelerated time to market at a fraction of the cost and risk routinely associated with new product and service launches.
Deploying the correct business architecture to drive scale ahead of competition.
Winning business architecture starts with a customer in retail and works backwards into a business model that supports the desired value proposition. Our team of experienced operators have a proven record of leveraging their know how with forward looking insights to work across the value chain to develop a blueprint for success.
Unlike traditional consulting firms, we know that the work is not over when a defined vision exists. It is only done when there is a product or service that has been tested, a customer experience that has been ruthlessly interrogated, and a business model that scales.
- Service and Product Development
Our team at Sprosty Network has experience as both retailer buyers and at-product companies, large and small, that sell through retail. This experience drives a maniacal focus on the customer experience. And while this seems like a common view across industries, we are constantly surprised at products that fail to win with the customer—and so fail in the market.
Emphasizing customer insights at the outset.
With this view, it’s no surprise our service and product development work starts with forming deep customer insights. It also leverages a retail buyer view that sees each product not just on it’s own, but amongst a wide range of options all of which compete for consumer adoption. This emphasis leads to and drives a range of support techniques, including more common product development approaches such as MVP (minimum viable product) to less obvious retail testing before scale production.
We focus our support on winning with the consumer while reducing product development time and inventory risk.
And while we work with clients to “get the product right before scaling,” we also explore alternate go-to-market channel options. The most common company decision is to launch a product and a brand together. But the less common options of building for retail private label programs or collaborating with a multi-national brand can add breadth to a product plan. It can also defray risk, given the unique insights and financial assets that OEM and private brands can bring to a partnership.
The refinement and learning process begins in earnest once a product is consumer proven and to market directly or through partners. We help our clients develop and take action on the feedback loops fed by consumer ratings, out-of-box ethnography, returns programs and call center insights.
We ensure clients get it right the first time and make it better the second time. Sound simple? It never is.
- Omni-Channel UX
Consumers view the smartphone as a remote control for their lives. As a result, the complexities and consumer expectations facing retail are growing, as the information and convenience consumers can gain from familiar online players can eliminate the requirement for a live bricks-and-mortar experience. But soon, the mobile phone will eclipse online shopping, creating opportunities for bricks and mortar to integrate the customer’s mobile presence into the holistic shopping experience. Retailers that want to remain competitive in the marketplace must embrace the interconnectivity between the mobile device and the in-person and online shopping experiences.
Incorporating omni-channel opportunities for bricks-and-mortar retailers.
Our team at Sprosty Network can help retailers with completely separate and disjointed business units find ways to leverage the multiple touchpoint advantage. Our leaders have been working at the intersection of mobile and retail for decades. Through our work with a number of partners, we have learned how to:
- Identify unmet consumer needs to create a frictionless experience
- Better integrate a retailer’s online and bricks-and-mortar experiences
- Create numerous location-based service alternatives
- Expedite checkout
Using the mobile phone to improve the customer experience.
When done right, the mobile phone can bring to life information on a product that a customer saw in a retail store. We can help you identify the best way to create an “endless aisle” experience for your customers, delivering related product information to customers on demand and on location. This improved customer experience will help grow your brand and your business.