Published 27. Mar. 2017
The Only Thing Constant in Retail is Change
IoT product development challenges existing R&D thinking and enables more impactful product development.
Digitalization has turned the world upside-down, and for myBrand’s Corianne Visser, “We’re experts in providing specialized retail IT services and we’ve been in the digital business for years, but digitalization has completely changed our world. These days, things are more complicated, technically, yet they’re clearer and simpler to explain, functionally. Years ago, our single point of contact was IT, but today, to our joy, that’s no longer true!”
Traditionally, it’s the IT department that decides which technologies are implemented in the company, “Nowadays, everybody within the retail organization is involved, which means more information and insights are made available to more people, resulting in more business opportunities.”
myBrand is a perfect example, “Instead of just ‘bits and bytes’ and bundling data, our consultants have customer insight, e.g. their thought process, drives, and needs. Our consultants also have an understanding of business challenges and they’re able to translate those into goals, helping the customer choose the best solution in hitting those goals.”
The Rapidly Changing Customer Expectations
Consumers these days make a beeline to the Internet for information, customization, and everything else. Visser calls this n=1, “Our customers, the retailers, find their audience easier to target, but n=1 also means that consumer demands are growing and loyalty is declining.”
Everyone also wants things fast and easy, “Our customers are going through a huge shift,” shares Visser, and companies are hard pressed to provide, “Process efficiency, products/services flexibility from all angles, manufacturing to order, just-in-time procurement and delivery, logistics alignment and optimization, n=1, one channel, and so on.”
For businesses to attract, keep, and grow their customers, their customer experience strategy and execution must be outstanding, “Customer experience is about feelings and emotion. No matter what you do as a retailer, if you can’t create that positive feeling or that emotion with your customer, then you’re lost. Anything you can do to create that feeling is allowed. Any and all means are allowed. Whether it relates to special capabilities for your employees, IT systems tracking all consumer actions, or data predicting the availability of merchandise, just make sure those hygiene factors are dealt with.”
Preparing for a Game-Changing Future
The light will go out slowly but surely on traditional retailers who still largely rely on their aging audience, “Because of the assumption that their consumers are not yet ready for digital development, they don’t offer alternatives. They also don’t open new markets fearing they’ll alienate their current audience. Because of these doubts and indecisiveness, no concrete steps are taken.”
There are two big game-changers in the field of retail IT, according to Visser:
- Data Collection – The ability to amass huge amounts of data by registering all customer actions and registering them from devices through the Internet of Things.
- Data Analysis – Data processing at great speed creates the opportunity to perform analysis and create useful information, real time.
The possibilities to reach out to potential customers in the digital world are endless and traditional limitations, such as time, location and budget are slowly disappearing, but for Visser, “The limitless possibilities present a huge opportunity, but can also be a threat. We have to make wise choices, because if we don’t focus, the results will be uncontrollable. So, focus on making fewer things at a time and choose methods and technologies that fit the organizational culture. Think big, act small, one step at a time, based on a clear and eminent strategy.”
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- Move past the omnichannel hype: How do you make it concrete and profitable?
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Chief Solution Executive, Symbio Finland