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Retail Modernization -- Creating the Groundwork for Future Success

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Retail Modernization

retail-modernization-creating-the-groundwork-for-future-success

Covid-19 has reordered the critical pillars of retail success. Archaic and outmoded models will fall behind in the race. Retail enterprises will suffer it they wont change their existing models for new business realities. They will need to embrace AI-led analytics to predict customer behavior and target them with precision. Create user experience as per their specific needs. Create pathways to predict demand and streamline & balance supply chain. Successful retail will require start-to-end integration to orchestrate processes and technologies in a order. Let's see what the future beholds for them:

The retail industry is changing and it's not just online stores that are causing the changes. Smaller, more nimble companies like Warby Parker and Everlane can ship products to customers in days instead of weeks. This new reality means retailers have to adapt or risk being left behind.

What is Retail Modernization?

Retail modernization isn't just about keeping up with the times -- it's about preparing for what comes next. Retailers who take steps now will set themselves up for future success by setting standards that their competitors will have a hard time meeting.

Retail modernization is the process of adapting to new technologies and innovations in order to stay competitive. The retail sector has changed significantly over the past few years, with many companies struggling to keep up with the rapid pace of change. So what does this mean for future success? And how can retailers be doing more than just trying to survive?

The retail industry is in a state of flux. With the increasing prevalence of e-commerce, brick and mortar stores are quickly closing their doors or transforming into showrooms where customers can see products available for purchase online before they make an order. Retailers are scrambling to modernize the shopping experience in order to stay competitive with new technologies. But what does this mean? How can retailers create a physical environment that is attractive, interactive, immersive and engaging when shoppers have become accustomed to perusing goods on their own time at home or on mobile devices? Here are some of the building blocks they should priorities:

Retail Analytics: Retailers must modernize their businesses with AI and machine learning to be competitive. AI is disrupting businesses and transforming daily lives across the world. These transformative technologies are driving new opportunities for retailers to increase capabilities in delivering differentiated customer experiences by leveraging advanced data driven sales insights.

Gartner claims that as the market matures and competition intensifies, retailers' investments in consumer experience will be a key differentiator. The research firm believes that large retailers must adopt advanced analytics to gain insight into individual customer preferences, purchase behavior and loyalty patterns.

According to the Gartner report, "90 % successful retailers will be using advanced analytics to understand customers' purchase patterns and preferences, based on detailed transaction data. Amazon is spending $5 billion per year on their analytics led warehouses, and the pace of online shopping is unprecedented. However, only a small number of retailers are investing heavily in predictive analytics to determine customers' next product choices."

Retail Integration: End-to-end retail integration will be needed to connect complex technologies and moving the data between complex ecosystems and optimize their efficiency.

smart retailers are now looking to build out their platforms beyond just leveraging data for personalized marketing messages. Today, retailers are connecting their point-of-sale systems with everything from CRM systems to email providers through direct connections or through APIs. This trend is called "retail integration", and it's here to stay as the top priority for retailers continues to evolve beyond marketing and merchandising into one that also includes customer service and technology.

A recent survey by Manhattan Associates revealed that 70% of retailers are leveraging retail integration to improve their ability to predict demand, shorten time between an order and shipment, and improve the customer experience. How is this done? Technology like Manhattan's Retail Integration Cloud provides retailers the capability to integrate any application, cloud or on-premise, and apply rules and workflows across all of them.

Further, 36% of retailers surveyed said they would be increasing their spend on retail integration in the next year. The top drivers were: improve customer service (48%); boost sales/margin performance (41%).

Omnichannel Experience: An omnichannel presence is a powerful thing. Retailers can harness the power of each channel in order to increase their store revenue when done properly.

How does this help retailers? With so many new lanes on the information superhighway available to marketers, they can focus on building a positive customer experience for their consumers at every point of communication, whether it is online or offline.

However, in-spite of the benefits that omnichannel presence can provide, many retailers are still not providing this for their consumers. The reason for this is a lack of understanding and a fear of wasting too much time trying to optimize online sales channels while focusing more on traditional brick-and-mortar sales. However, if retailers do not put an emphasis on optimizing their online sales channels, they will likely see a decrease in traditional sales.

Remote Payments: Retail customers now expect an online experience at an offline store. They expects remote payment for options at point-of sales. Therefore, integrating traditional and digital media allows will be the key to drive sales and provide a superior shopping experience. Retailers need to be able to guide the shopper through all touch points of their journey and not just look at one channel. Trends such as mobile POS or omni-channel, show that retailers are aware of the shifting competitive landscape and adapt accordingly.

Today, the key force in the retail industry is customer focus. Brands need to be able to connect with consumers through social media, email and SMS in order to create a personalized shopping experience at all stages of their journey with the retailer. As seen in the example of The North Face, being present where shoppers are is key to engaging them online and then bringing them into the store.

This shift toward digitally integrated channels brings new challenges for retailers as they think beyond what has been possible with checkouts today. By 2022, retailers will need to meet the high expectations of customers by providing a seamless and consistent cross-channel shopping experience.

Targeted Content to Drive User Experience: Retailers will need to develop targeted content to reach the audience and address their need. The modern consumer is a fickle customer. He wants something that others are not willing to give them, at least in its entirety. And he wants to be sure that there is nothing wrong with product line-up.

The quickest way to get a customer's attention is , but once you have them you need your content to be so compelling they will not phase out of your line of sight. For retailers it seems simple enough: the more customers in the store, the better off you are. But with larger corporations looking to get their share of the pie, it is becoming harder for smaller operations to compete.

Quality content will help them stand out from the crowd and provide a competitive edge over corporate juggernauts. Retailers who want their business to be successful in this new age, need to take advantage of content marketing and use it to reach new customers.

Training and Development: Deploying retail technology is the easy part but difficult part is assimilating the culture in the organization. Retailers will need to train the staff on technologies and bring in the executive confidence to convince employees about the retail modernization.

The technological infrastructure that powers retail today is increasingly becoming more advanced and robust than ever before. From RFID tags to bar codes to NFC, retailers around the world are deploying technologies that simply didn't exist just a few years ago.

But although deploying new technology is expensive and difficult, experts say it's actually assimilating the new technology into an organization that can be the most difficult aspect of all.

"The easiest part is deploying the technology--the hardest part is assimilating it into your business," said Sree Tumuluri, senior industry consultant for standards and innovation at Oracle Retail. "It's really about culture change."

Retail transformation doesn’t happen overnight. It takes the skill and patience of a gardener. It is less about adoption of technologies and more about changing the culture of your organization to embrace new ways of working. The reasons behind this are twofold: firstly, retail organizations have very large amounts of legacy processes, systems and cultures which need to be dealt with. Secondly, the pace of change and adoption of new technologies in retail is relentless and especially so when looking at omni-channel channels and marketplaces.

Retail organizations need to transform the mindset first. Haphazard technology adoption with inadequate planning and skills onboarding can do more harm than good. Successful transformations need thoughtful, considered, holistic approach for technology transformation

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