The retail industry has always been a part and parcel of human society. In fact, the evidence of the first retail stores dates back hundreds of years. The retail business has always been a niche market with a targeted audience and steady income flow. However, with the evolution of technology, many retail stores have been put out of business since they failed to embrace technology and lacked the technical expertise lacked the technical expertise In order to survive in today’s technology-enabled world and face the stiff competition, brick and mortar stores need to develop strategies that bring the best of both–technology and in-store retail.
"Technology not only assists in providing a better consumerand maker experience, but also allows retail stores to be more cost-efficient"
Could you describe yourjourney in various leadership positions and what were the key takeaways?
We started our retail journey 4 year ago and since then a plethora of disruption has reshaped the landscape. With the proliferation of technology and e-commerce, companies such as Amazon have emerged as a dominant force in the retail industry. Previously retail was primarily centered on supply chain with organizations such as Walmart championing the retail race. However, today, technology has allowed customers to access a lot of information that has completely transformed the ecosystem and propelled businesses to adapt to the technological shift.
How has the advent of latest innovations in retail analytics technologies impacted the industry?
Over the last few years, the buying behavior of consumers has changed drastically. Since online stores are in abundance, these days, most customers do not visit stores just for shopping. Instead, the entire shopping experience is now deeply entwined with entertainment. Therefore, the onus is on the brick and mortar stores to pique the curiosity of visiting consumers that ultimately translates into sales. Akin to e-commerce websites, even physical stores must leveragethe technology trends to create an ambiance that simplifies shopping for its consumers, recommend items that interest them, and glean feedback. This will go a long way in establishing the brand value and providing holistic customer experience.
What are some of the strategies and techniques that the retail industry should adopt and how is analytics helping them do that?
The technology evolution has paved way for many innovations in the retail space. Previously, such organizations or stores were dependent on the wholesale marketplace and were not bothered if their commodities would sell. However, in the present context, retail organizations need to realize that in order to enhance theirrevenue; they need to monetize the services that they provide. As technology burgeons rapidly, companies need to create a framework–corroborated by technology–to onboard products faster as well as improve theirpre and after sales services to augment their customer base and accelerate sales.
How do retail management techniques differ in each organization and what improvements are necessary to achieve the next level?
Retail is a diverse playing field and every industry vertical views it froma different perspective. For instance, manufacturing organizations and their relation with retail companies are different than that of logistics. In fact, the way an individual retail firm functions, too, is unique. However, the problem with many retailers in today’s day and age is that they are not evolving with the current trends in the marketplace. This neglect toward technology has cost many organizations severely and wereforcedto shut their operations. In order to understand the dynamics of this massive transformation, retailers need to closely observe the strategies that big players such as Walmart are adopting and moving in tandem with the changing world. Companies like Walmart and Macy’s have emerged as progressive organizationsthat are adopting technology, each has respectively taken the challenge head on and started to embrace the technological trends through partnerships, investments, and mergers, among others.
Where do you see the future of retail management heading toward?
For the retail market in general and stores in particular, it is absolutely essential to blend with the current technology trends. Besides, individuals working in this space have to be extremely invested in bringing more innovations to the fore. The day it stops, businesses are more likely to shut down. In the journey forward, many of the upcoming technologies are bound to restructure the overall framework of retail organizations. Predictive analytics and artificial intelligence, for one, are going to create immense traction as it will allow businesses to predict consumerbehaviorand formulate strategies accordingly. Technology does not only assist in providing a better consumer experience but also allows retail stores to be more cost-efficient.