How to thrive in an era of digital disruptions?

We all are hearing or have heard about digital causing retail disruptions i.e. what we known as a retail apocalypse.

Big retailers and big brands are shutting their stores, the latest to follow the trend is Gap and Toys r us & 125 years old Sears have filed for bankruptcy.

So how does one do business in the era of digital disruptions?

We live in an environment wherein everything can be copied, any innovation can be copied and launched in a better & fine-tuned service or in the form of a product.

No copyright lawsuits or trademarks can protect your innovation or innovative service, there is always a way out in legal terminology which we call as loopholes.

My article is my attempt to list out some tricks & strategies for the businesses to overcome this problem and would help you become a disruptor in your own domain or category of expertise.


Rule no 1: If you cannot beat the opponent, change the rules of the game.


Case study: Harry’s a hip & trendy razor club.

Razor category is dominated by P&G Gillette and the founders of Harry’s were quick to realize that they cannot afford to fight with MNC giant.

Using a digital platform and using influencer based content, Harry’s launched their trendy razor subscription service.

Today, Harry’s attracts more Instagram followers and product subscriptions through its website than a fully stocked Gillette aisle in a supermarket ever could. And so Harry’s has been growing 35% year-on-year between2014 to 2016, three times faster than the industry average, commanding 9% of all online razor sales.

Whereas the Gillette aisle in the local supermarket targets exactly one catchment area or neighborhood, Harry’s website reaches millions.

Rule no 2: If you can’t reinvent yourself then buy out your competition.

Unilever was quick to understand the ball game of e-commerce and how it could affect their future sales especially in a category which was dominated by rival P&G Gillette.

Unilever acquired dollar shave club for 1 billion USD; benefits are plenty, ready ecosystem of e-commerce platform, a ready customer base of millions of subscribers and moreover a commanding position of a category which was earlier dominated by Gillette.


Case study 2: Xiaomi –Chinese mobile company.

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi had invested in some 55 startups, generating products from power banks to air purifiers.

What Xiaomi offers to startups is a combination of funding and incubation by “taking non-controlling shares” and “leaving maximum interests to the startups” so that they are much more incentivized and willing to fight on the front line.

Startups typically get access to Xiaomi’s brand and distribution—its online channel, its app, and its 300 offline stores. As a result, Xiaomi has positioned itself as not only a low-cost phone maker but also an emerging powerhouse among the makers of the all-important “connected home devices.”


Xiaomi’s ecosystem gives customers unusual new products that they never knew existed.

Example-Internet-enabled rice cooker, and air purifier (the first affordable one in China).

Xiaomi by investing in start-ups has created an entry barrier for its competitors when it comes to innovation and developing innovative products.

That’s what I call a masterstroke of a strategist.

Want to learn about leadership skills in 2019, read here.

Rule no 3: leap into the future.


Take learnings from your past experiences. With a curious mind try to seek new knowledge which would help you to take your business in search of new opportunities, resulting in leaping forward your business.

Rule no 4: Execution is everything.


Everything in today’s world can be copied in the shortest time possible, however, what cannot be copied by your competition is

  • Your passion for your product or service
  • Your hard work and persistence
  • The execution of your vision into strategy.


I would like to share an interesting video to validate my article, watch it here

YouTube video


Hope my article would have given my readers some valuable insights to become disruptors in their category.

In case if any of my readers need cutting edge advice or strategy for their business, then you know who your GO TO person is.

I can be reached on


Reference book: Leap by Howard Yu. (One of my best read books in 2019 so far, a must for strategist enthusiasts).


About the author:

Ritesh Mohan is a passionate retail professional with over 20 years in the Retail sector, handling some of the biggest brands in beauty, fashion and fragrances retail & FMCG sector. Ritesh has been instrumental in the growth of some of the regional brands as well in the Middle East region. He specializes in Retail management, Product development, and Brand Management, Retail Operations, Sales Management, and Franchising & Business Management. He strongly believes in empowering business owners with his wisdom & experience of around two decades in the industry.