2019 has been full of enormous transformation in retail as the entire industry works to evolve with the consumer and strike a balance in all the purchasing paths one might take. Pair that with the blurring on industry lines as the consumer goods companies approach into their territory and other direct to consumer brands take off without the need of retail assistance and there is no doubt that in 2020 retail will (have to) continue to push the envelope to delight and maintain loyal customers. We are sharing several insights into what will help make for a successful new year for many retailers and insights into what will be discussed at the upcoming NRF 2020 Conference.
- Expect social, digital and commerce worlds to continue to merge closer together. With technology advancing and becoming more widespread, we believe retailers will be able to incorporate advancements within their IT with more ease. They will be able to further integrate the physical and virtual environments and allow internal business units to have improved transparency with each other and partners allowing them to stay innovative and keep everything moving along more efficiently and effectively.
- Operate under an Agile business model. Retailer journeys need to require a diligent and practiced commitment to disciplined innovation in order to support evolving customer demands. Set value based business priorities and be ready and able to work cross functionally and with your end users to obtain feedback. That means everything from ensuring a single enterprise-wide customer view, to aligning product data, pricing, promotion, procurement and inventory management. Ensuring the e-commerce platform you choose is lean and agile to deliver on all customer facing fronts while offering the ability to manage a complex back-end operation is imperative for this reason.
- Identify new market opportunities and use technology to your advantage. Be forward thinking when you approach the new year and look for new ways to delight your customers is one of the key topics being discussed at NRF 2020. Where are you and your competitors missing the mark? Perhaps customers are reluctant to spend on luxury item by viewing a simple photograph, but you can go the extra mile by sending shoppers 3D-printed replicas to view before purchase. Maybe its using AR or VR to allow customers to get up close and personal with your product in ways that haven’t been done before. Perhaps it is updating and unifying your shopping experiences or the additional of a progressive web app to address a gap in your retail market that has yet to be done before.
- Rethink your business model going into 2020. Ensure you can offer your product(s) to a range of customers. Are you missing out on opportunities? Consider capabilities or efforts around BOPIS, new collaborative partnerships, introducing new assortments, updated or adding in a marketplace or blog strategy, social media, etc. Where is your brand missing out, missing the mark, or not making an impact? Take time to truly understand the customer journey and make sure all areas of the business are governed by consistent processes, incentives, measurements and ways of working. This will be a hot topic for those attending NRF 2020.
Winning more market share for your category doesn’t happen overnight and certainly doesn’t happen without change. It’s time to approach the new year with a whole new perspective. The consumer is constantly changing, and retailers in turn need to also be able to pivot and evolve with ease. Previously, many retailers have faced hiccups in integration, transparency and collaboration efforts because of fragmentation of processes, systems and the uncertainty of responsibilities of e-commerce, in-store, merchandising or marketing activities. Having the right technology foundation in place to support these types of efforts will largely set apart Retail Winners from the rest of the pack throughout 2020.