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article imageHow retailers are responding to disruptive challenges

By Tim Sandle     Nov 17, 2018 in Business
Retailers are facing increased challenges and competition both to the concept of the physical store and with online shopping. This calls for new tactics and vision, according to a new study from Accenture.
The new Accenture report is titled “Changes in Store” and it considers the state of retail now and how things may play out in future years. Important for businesses active in the consumer space the report provides ideas that will need to be considered for businesses to remain competitive.
The key points raised from the review is that in order to succeed in the digital business era, retailers must consider stretching their boundaries. To do so requires a rethinking to established business models; plus a new vision for transforming into digital businesses and making the appropriate investments in new technology.
READ MORE: How startups are shaking up retail
A considerable threat to established players and small retailers is coming from startups, according to Eugene Fisher, Tech London Advocate’s retail tech group lead, who explains: “The impact and disruptive power of technology within the retail industry increasingly dominates the news agenda and London’s contribution to this revolution has been on par with the likes of Silicon Valley.”
Galleria shopping wall  Hatfield  UK.
Galleria shopping wall, Hatfield, UK.
Other threats include the rise of ecommerce, which has generated a torrent of new competitors that are innovating to provide differentiated customer offers. In addition, supply often outpaces demand triggering pricing wars. Moreover, customers’ expectations have shifted as people increasingly use digital technology in their daily lives.
What can retailers do when faced by new challengers? The Accenture Technology report outlines the technologies that are set to have an impact on retailers over the next three to five years. Three key areas are discussed.
Internet of Me
Retailers need to start adopting this Internet of Me, according to the report, capturing this trend into their businesses. The trend includes combining customers’ preferences, habits and context to deliver personalized experiences. This means retailers must adopt personalization strategies for both products and delivery channels. Examples of this personalized experience given include everything from tailored music recommendations, to made-to-order knitwear or family photos screened onto marshmallows – in other words, be different, be innovative.
Outcome economy
Data is vital for the modern retail business. Connecting data from smart appliances, wearables and other Internet of Things devices to digital systems is seen as important for helping businesses understand how customers actually use products and services. Such connections also provide a steady-source of metrics for how customers define success and this data can be used to help to delivering the results customer want. The phrase for this is the ‘Outcome Economy’.
As an example, U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer has installed touch screen kiosks to allow customers to move more freely between in-store and online shopping channels. Alternatively, both Macy’s and Apple are using in-store beacons to provide personalized offers directly to customers through their mobile devices.
People on an escalator at a shoppinbg mall (Hatfield  UK).
People on an escalator at a shoppinbg mall (Hatfield, UK).
New platforms
Retailers need to evolve their products and services into digital industry platforms. This means that retailers must “strive to become platform providers, facilitate data flow and system access to select business partners, and reinforce both core and digital platforms to partake in a larger ecosystem.”
To achieve this means bringing together all of the available digital and physical resources: stores, the supply chain network, biga data analytics on customer and product trends, plus cross-industry affiliations with other companies. As an example of working with other companies, drug store Walgreens has opened up its data to Hallmark Cards and launched the QuickPrints photo-processing application programming interface.
The report contains other trends and examples. Accenture summarize that retailers who embrace such digital trends and accelerate digital technology adoption will be able to stretch to deliver a seamless retail experience.
More about Retail, Shopping, Business, Ecommerce, Accenture
 
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