Technology and digital transformation have impacted retail industry beyond imagination. The third wave of retail disruption has set in. Retailers are already talking about smart retail and intelligent enterprise. What does this mean? It means you implement cognitive automation and RPA for a lean process. You optimize supply chains, make decisions based on real-time data, and make digital an integral part of your operations.
But is this enough? Is there something more you can do? We believe, yes you can!
At InfoVision we believe that to stay ahead of the competition retailers can just focus on smart enterprise. But to really beat the competition you need to evolve further into an enterprise that can think and respond! Your smart systems should be able to think as well!
Most of the retailers are investing a great deal in technology solutions. These solutions are designed to help the employees work better. They are taking on the role of being an enabler of activities that employees do day in and day out. The process time is being reduced and human errors are getting minimized.
But a retailer that is thinking beyond just smart will invest time on enabling the employees not only to do their job better but also to think better.
All the solution training programs that we see in place today are preparing the employees to use the technology. But there are very few programs that train people on how to think better and use the solution. We have managed to train robots to think and act like humans, but we have not yet succeeded in getting humans to stop thinking like robots!
All the retailers who have invested in analytics are proud to say that their decisions are informed and guided by the numbers. But how many of them really dig deeper into interpretation of these numbers?
We recently worked with a retailer who believed that on average their customers spent $60 each time they walked into the store. This seemed to be a favorable number to them. But when we dug deep, we found out that they in fact had two distinct segment of customers – the one who spent less than $30 with each store visit and the other who spent more than $80 with each store visit. Our analysis further revealed that the millennials who were spending more than $80 were spending mostly on electronics and apparel. The ones that were spending less than $30 were the baby boomers who were mostly picking up groceries. Our analysis also showed that millennial spend did not change with season. But the baby boomers spent more during the summers.
This realization helped them create different types of strategies and marketing offers for each customer segment.
So just having numbers and dashboards is not enough. You should also be able to read those numbers and interpret what they mean.
Most technology solutions available for retail will help you match supply to demand. These solutions will help you when it comes to the output. But what about outcome? That is where strategy comes in!
Merely stacking up a host of digital solutions is not the right thing to do. You will only end up incurring technical debt which is hard to shake off in short period of time. You can automate your logistics and inventory management and even production cycles. But they are going to impact your business output. You will have products on shelf to sell. But does that mean you will be able to sell them all?
You need to combine technology adoption with strategic thinking. How are you going to use the technology? What features in the solution will give you favorable outcome?
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