Is Your Brand Ready for This Year's Holiday Retail Trends?
No industry has been more impacted by digital transformation than retail. In fact, it’s frighteningly easy to identify which retailers have embraced change and which remain mired in technologic antiquity. There’s no better time to commit to a digital revolution than during retailing prime time: the holiday shopping season. While many big-box retailers have lost market share to Amazon.com and other e-commerce sellers, leveraging digital technology can ensure they stay competitive during the holiday shopping season.
Leading companies like Uber and Apple that have used technology to personalize services and products have raised the bar for customer expectations, leaving the days of mass marketing to consumers in the past. According to a study from PwC, niche products, experiences and services exclusively tailored to individual tastes, interests and goals have become the new consumer indulgence. In order to engage, retain and acquire customers, brick-and-mortar retailers must embrace a more modern platform that enables them to innovate and differentiate from today’s advanced competitors.
5 Holiday Retail Trends of 2017
As the busiest shopping season of the year winds down, all retailers should consider five trends as they begin to fully integrate bricks and clicks in this digital age if they want to stay efficient and competitive:
1. Customer-Centric Personalization
Retailers should deploy customer-centric technologies, like RFID-tagged loyalty cards that send personalized rewards and incentives to in-store shoppers. These cards can provide access to internal information, known shopping preferences and social media data to better understand shopper behavior and improve customer service.
2. Real-Time Pricing
Since shoppers can now quickly compare prices online, “sticker prices” will become obsolete, replaced by real-time electronic shelf pricing to keep up with competitor pricing, optimize inventory and reduce labor costs. Retailers should also implement real-time special offers as an additional incentive to shop in-store.
3. Revolutionized Stores
By embracing the Internet of Things, retailers will have an opportunity to advance customer service by implementing sensor-oriented devices, allowing access to detailed and targeted customer centricity, easy visibility into inventories through electronic sensors, and the ability to create smart signs, ultimately delivering an immersive shopping experience.
4. All-Around Consistency
Customers want friction-free shopping. Adopting a full omnichannel approach by integrating mobile, cloud, analytics and social media into a unified merchandising system allows retailers to ensure a consistent experience online and in-store, resulting in satisfied, loyal customers.
5. Real-Time Monitoring
By implementing smart sensors that detect activity and provide visibility across a store while paired with streaming data and real-time analytics, retailers will be able to sense, correlate and automate processes from staffing to inventory.
A successful digital transformation will allow retailers to provide a shopping experience that resonates with customers who are used to engaging across a wide variety of platforms, including e-commerce and traditional brick-and-mortar stores. The challenge lies in efficiently undertaking this transformation given the complex ecosystem of technology that exists within retail organizations. Innovative retail leaders must orchestrate complex processes across multiple systems while being adaptable enough to enable future changes. Those that make the investments to ensure they can innovate are the ones that will survive and thrive in today’s digital marketplace.
Oliver Guy is global industry director, retail, at Software AG, a digital business platform provider.
Related story: Afraid of Amazon? IoT to the Rescue
Oliver Guy is the Global Industry Director at Software AG, specializing in Retail Digital Transformation and omnichannel technology strategy, Oliver advises retailers across the globe on their technology strategy and decisions. With more than 20 years focused in technology, Oliver has worked with major names in global retail helping them improve their business through the use of innovative technology. Prior to joining Software AG, Oliver was part of the European Management team at Oracle Retail, his team being responsible for Retail focused Solution Consulting across Europe. Oliver started his career in technology implementing Supply Chain Planning and Optimisation solutions for customers across multiple industries in both Europe and Asia Pacific with Manugistics (JDA).