Lewis Weinger: The Zero-Based Cost Revolution in Retail

For successful retailers, zero-based budgeting is more than just a clean-sheet approach—it's a mindset.


Lewis Weinger: The Zero-Based Cost Revolution in Retail

Retailers are looking to invest money into more intuitive digital experiences for consumers, despite rising cost pressures in the industry. Lewis Weinger, a partner with Bain's Retail practice, explains how zero-based budgeting helps retailers find savings to reinvest in the company's strategy.

Read the Bain Brief: The Zero-Based Cost Revolution in Retail

Read the transcript below.

LEWIS WEINGER: Retailers continue to face cost pressures and margin pressures with rising labor costs, rising logistics costs, and downward pressure on price with more competitive online offers, and the increasing consumer trend towards value. At the same time, retailers are looking to invest resources and dollars they don't have into technology and digital, and into improving the customer experience to be more competitive with Amazon and other online competitors. More and more retailers are turning to zero-based budgeting to achieve this objective.

Now zero-based budgeting isn't simply starting over with a clean sheet every year. It's actually a cost management system and mindset. It's about understanding where your dollars are spent and allocated, and investing those to support the strategy with intentionality. Zero-based budgeting starts with a visibility exercise to understand across complex financial systems and platforms where you're spending your money, and getting more granular into financial buckets, like "other," to know where's that money really being spent. Treating it like it's your own money, and understanding where every dollar is spent.

Read the Brief

The Zero-Based Cost Revolution in Retail

Why traditional belt-tightening is not enough.


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