From optimizing operations among departments to orchestrating experiences across channels

Manager - Business Solution Group
Charm Sundar

May 05, 2016

Currently, macro-economic conditions in developing countries, growing buying power of the population, wave of entrepreneurs and digitally empowered consumers are fuelling a transformation in the retail sector like never before. With such opportunities comes enormous challenges and vice versa.

Technology and Innovation

Emerging retailers have a tendency to mimic global counterparts while adopting technology. This gives them the advantage of having access to tried, tested and optimized ideas and innovations. What we see is that there is always a trade-off: Quick Time to Market with limited Capex, this has proved to be fatal for many ventures in the long run. The adoption of right technology and ensuring future readiness and investing on it would ensure that your business and your digital platform stay relevant to changing times. Use of technology, innovation and ideas to orchestrate exciting buying experiences is the key.

Omni-channel and Experiences

Everyone now understands that Omni-channel is the key and we also realize that the consumer should have a consistent experience across all channels including in-store. Most retailers lack mature technology backbone and aiding processes within the organization to help them in transitioning into Omni-channel. What is required is a clear deliberation and adoption. In the digital world, all retailers have to listen to the voice of the consumer, follow the shopping habits and interactions with the brand from all their channels. Once retailers master this challenge, they will become intimate with many consumer personas and this would be the biggest competitive advantage that one should bet on.

Strategy, Leadership, and Culture

The sudden surge in eCommerce growth has got many retailers to rethink their Omni-channel strategy and through our engagement with such retailers, we see a wide gap in the maturity levels and what we prescribe is a shift in the mindset of traditional CIOs and CMOs. From managing back-end systems that cater to operations the CIOs of retail organizations have to adapt to managing a channel that is generating sales and revenue; thus requiring them to learn the nitty-gritty of the new age technology landscape. On the other hand, the traditional CMOs have to embrace online channels for their branding and promotions.

Orchestration and Integration

When all your channels have to work together in harmony in the digital world, orchestration and integration is the key. It is very imperative to orchestrate the digital journey from a simple static website to a digital platform that is future ready to collaborate with all stakeholders to deliver a great experience for the consumers. So, plan and invest on an integration platform which will ensure that you have no roadblocks when there is a change in business strategy or a disruptive business model that might challenge your business.

Content and Communication

When interacting with your potential consumer or your loyal consumer; content plays an important role. Managing content becomes an important aspect; especially when a retailer has an Omni-channel presence. Consistent content across channels and constant update of content is how a consumer will judge your brand. Place emphasis on technologies that will ensure that your brand communication; be it catalogue information, or an ad; or an update of static content is managed effectively. The new age content management systems work like a charm here. Content is the key in driving your commerce!

Data and Analytics

Although data and analytics have played a role before; the acquisition of consumer data and understanding behavioural patterns has always been a challenge, thanks to the internet and social media, now retailers have access to loads of information about a consumer; so much so that they can follow the consumer on the web and plan their engagement.

With such volume of structured and unstructured data available (now referred to as BigData), one should have the right implementation of a BigData and Analytics platform which will ensure that there are actionable insights for every touch point with the consumer and every strategy is supported with hard facts.

Businesses everywhere are looking at ways and means to respond to macro and micro market challenges. A phased digitization approach which will involve choosing the appropriate technology portfolio across all consumer touch points and aligning them to the organization's brand identity will be key; and needless to mention that physical stores will continue to play a vital role in ensuring a unified experience.

Retailers should now focus on providing relevant and engaging experiences to the new age thoughtful and empowered consumer with higher purchasing powers and access to loads of information. With the advent of global players; and the rich experiences being delivered by them, the expectations of consumers have increased even in emerging economies.

Hence, it is imperative to match these expectations by continuously evolving digitally.
Re-think, Re-Strategize and Rebuild!!!