Adapt to a Changing Retail Landscape in 2017

23rd Mar 2017

 Retailers_2017

With dwindling profit margins, store closures, and a mass departure of key players in the retail industry, companies are looking into investing in digital technologies that will prepare them for a changing retail landscape. In an environment of new competitors, digitization, and emerging technologies, retailers have to be willing to adapt and open to change.

However, impulsively investing in technologies that are more hyped than relevant can result in abandoned programs and unrecoverable losses for retailers without much gain. Forrester’s latest report sheds light on what technologies are hyped versus relevant. Industry experts advise retailers to choose and invest in technology that “creates personal customer connections, reduces pain points along the customer journey, and optimizes operational efficiencies” based on sentiments that were echoed in this year’s NRF Big Show in January.

Retail Technology in 2017

NRF’s Big Show that occurred in January was a learning podium for retailers to overhaul their retail strategy, know the evolving industry trends and explore technologies that can help them against competition.

President of HSN Bill Brand set the tone of both NRF and the 2017 retail environment by stating that retail will see more changes in the next five years than it has seen in 50 years. To harness this change and map their efforts accordingly, retailers are prioritizing their tech investments into high, medium and low categories. A large number of retailers are now focusing on technology that is closely tied to the customer journey and delivers on customer expectations.

Tech Investments with an Eye on Customers and Intent to Optimize Experience

NRF had retailers echoing sentiments to get back to their core competencies; understand customers, offer great products, and serve up great experiences. So how are retailers planning to attract their customers back? The unanimous answer is through personalization, Omni-channel, Contextual Analytics and Optimization.

Personalizing experiences is now an enterprise-level initiative.

We’ve previously discussed personalization, but there is still a huge gap when it comes to offering personalized services to customers. Let’s look at the data. 86% of consumers said personalization plays a role in their purchasing decision. Despite this, 52% of retailers have said that knowing and engaging with their valuable customers is their top most challenge, and 42% of retail floor associates know nothing to very little about their customers. With personalization identified as one of the top three retail challenges, it is imperative for retailers to invest in technologies that would help them know customers better through insights that capture and organize customer data, engaging them actively with contextual experiences.

Give your Big Data and Contextual Analytics a Big Push

Leveraging data can empower enterprises with valuable customer insight that can be used to offer personalized services to customers.  But how do we get this data? Retail is moving beyond traditional touch points and traversing into the realms of contextual data and analytics. In store analytics is capable of providing real-time data with unlimited possibilities like predicting behavioral patterns. This year we will see retailers investing in location analytics platforms and enterprise proximity platforms that are capable of providing advanced analytics and contextual intelligence.

Omni-channel Tech Investments

Omni channel is about continuity of customer experience. And any enterprise thinking of providing a wholesome experience to its customers must put an effort in integrating the siloed experiences of customers across different systems, departments, channels and devices. As many retailers have shared, meeting this expectation takes technologies that optimize operations, including in-store associate tools, as well as systems that improve inventory tracking and accuracy.

Optimize the Goal for Store Digitization

Retail outlets are consciously moving away from its status of being mere sellers and are projecting themselves as experience destination. This means they must be equipped to deliver on various fronts simultaneously right from the moment customers enter to engagement to scanning the inventories to providing an omni channel solution, and great experience across various touch points. All this, in turn, requires stores to be digitally connected, with different systems integrated end-to-end. Proximity technology can help the current fragmented approach to customer service. For example, Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the US, is testing in-aisle sensors and analytics technology to let shoppers interact with shelves and products. Proximity and location based technologies are capable of providing end to end solutions for a complete and enhanced digital store experience.

With 53% of digital experience delivery professionals saying they lack the right technology to personalize customer experiences, it’s time for retailers to drive their digital pursuit in the right direction by investing in the right technology. For customer-centric retailers, geo-location technology is a one stop solution whether it is for personalization, contextual analytics, omni channel support or store operation optimization. Request a demo to know how Proximity MX can help you in achieving this.

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