What does “good” look like in retail? I feel it is the ability to innovate and adapt - and provide innovative new propositions to customers.
This requires ability to link together multiple systems, both existing and new, within the enterprise in order to create the best possible customer journey.
Look how far we have come; a few years ago it would have been unthinkable to be able to buy online and pick up in store. Today many people see this as a normal way to shop. But this is not a simple undertaking; it can involve the integration of 20-30 different systems. Even as recently as a year ago, the concept of ordering by voice was relatively unheard of – but now is commonplace.
When you look at value-added services, it involves even more systems. Those retailers that survive and thrive are the ones who are able to innovate and adapt to new business models like these – adding new revenue streams.
Let’s take an example of this. A home improvement firm I work with wants to move away from selling spare parts for central heating systems and to provide central heating as a service. This is a different business model which its existing technology cannot accommodate. While this may be many years away, subscription retail is here now – but commercial off-the-shelf systems do not yet support it.
While people may call this the “retail apocalypse,” in reality it is driven by competitors – old and new - doing new and innovative things – this is the essence of digital transformation. This includes:
- Real-time visibility
- Productivity and innovation
For years, there has been a significant response to - and investment by - retailers in omni-channel, customer journey and even delivery. But there is a long way to go, according to Credit Suisse.
Retailers realize that they need to invest in visibility, focus on productivity and automate streamlined processes. They need to be flexible enough to innovate and provide new value-add services to customers. While trying to out-Amazon Amazon may not be possible, being a fast follower is the next best thing and this requires the ability to move fast.
Something Software AG is very proud to be helping the world’s leading retailers with their IoT projects.
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