Omni Channel Retail
The future of success Retailers is going to be defined by their ability to adopt and adapt technology to effectively manage the changing landscape of Retail. Meeting the challenges of the multi-channel consumer will require speed, agility, and convenience. This is forcing many Retailers to revamp their supply chains that have been designed a long time ago for a single channel world. Those Retailers that emerge as high performers will need to recognise their need to evolve by adapting their environment to cater for multi-channel; while providing their consumers with a seamless experience regardless of channel or touch-point.
New channels can provide a number of challenges around technology refresh, capability and an understanding of what needs to be accomplished; while adapting to consumer preferences. A deeper understanding of how consumers evaluate, communicate and transact, can assist in this transition, and technology can be leveraged to achieve profit sustaining results.
The rapid emergence of Amazon www.amazon.com.au in the Australian marketplace is fundamentally reshaping the gorilla pen. This will open up a whole new level of competing on price, assortment and service. There is also a whole new delivery chain materialising, with independent transportation solutions, Australia Post lockers https://auspost.com.au/receiving/alternative-delivery-addresses/use-a-247-parcel-locker at most corners, which is setting a new industry service standard that will be hard to follow.
Are Brick and Mortar Stores in Australia a dying breed?
I believe the answer is no!
It is challenging to sell through Amazon and retails will need to be selective with which product line they may wish to sell through Amazon, which lines they will continue to sell through their privately owned stores and which lines they may wish to execute through a marketplace such as Catch http://www.powerretail.com.au/news/catch-marketplace-launches/ announcing their intention through Power Retail to no longer be a clearance online store.
Successful retailers will be characterised by their ability to become agile and adapt their 'go-to-market' through insightful information on consumer preferences, brand perception and competition. The ability to architect technology and business processes to cater for continuous change, while achieving fast time to value will feel like jumping through hoops, but has become a retail reality.
Insight and Innovation will be the key to designing and testing concepts without the need to physically create them. Gaining consumer insights through virtual concepts before money is invested to understand the uptake of the market will provide a positive impact. This new era of consumer-centric retailing will need to look at the best way to engage consumers in store; while testing and verifying decisions that have been made much earlier in the planning process.
Collaboration between brand, design, product, planning, sourcing, merchandising, and coupling that with consumer engagement through social innovation, visual planning and virtual showrooms; becomes critical to protecting the brand. A Brand is built over a long period of time but can enter a free-fall if components like quality, speed to market, product cost and the opinion of others are perceived negatively by the consumer.
The consumer is also becoming a lot more emotionally aware of things like ethical sourcing, labour rates, country of origin, etc., and their decisions are influenced by their perception of whether an organisation's image around social responsibilities are being met, and is it an ethically aware organisation. Australian products and materials appear to be a growth market, and people are will to pay more for a product if it’s DNA can be proven. An example of this is woollen products where a Paddock to Store Chain can be identified.
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