Future success for Retailers is going to be defined by their ability to adopt and adapt technology to effectively manage the changing landscape of Retail. Those Retailers that will emerge as high performers recognise their need to evolve by adapting their environment to cater for multi-channel; while providing their consumers 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.
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 brand, because brand is the ‘King Pin’ to sustaining results. 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 other moving components are perceived negatively by the consumer. A recent ground-swell that influences consumer perception is an organisation's image around social responsibility and being seen as an ethically aware organisation.
‘Empower consumers’ when it is viewed from that perspective, it opens up a lot more opportunities in the market.