Will 2015 Be the Year the ‘Store of the Future’ Takes Off?
With the store of the future, that's no longer the case. The role of the CMO is rapidly colliding with the CIO and CTO. Today, CMOs are still expected to be masters of brand strategy and customer experience, but the store-of-the-future concept requires them to live on the cutting edge of technology trends that influence how consumers buy and how businesses sell.
So, what can brands and retailers do to fix the problem and increase their chances of success?
First, the organization itself needs to change. Silos must be broken down. Retail organizations must undergo radical shifts in their structures to align themselves with how consumers act in a new world obsessed with digital experiences. This may involve a full reorganization or merely defining new roles and accountabilities.
Second, companies need to invest in next-generation digital experience technologies. Marketing clouds and digital experience platforms have grown in capability the past three years, enabling retailers to create lookbooks and content-rich shopping experiences. Most, however, lack the transactional commerce capability needed to create truly seamless digital experiences that also generate revenue.
To fulfill the high expectations of an omnichannel experience, retailers need a marketing cloud platform endowed with core commerce capabilities (e.g., catalog management, merchandising, pricing, product information, checkout and other e-commerce features, etc.). The secret is to deliver these as services using API-based technologies so that it's seamless to the user. This allows CIOs and their software engineers to empower marketing teams with experience-driven commerce services while still owning responsibility of the underlying technology. In this scenario, IT moves from being an inhibitor of innovation to an enabler.
To make the store of the future a reality in 2015, CIOs and CMOs should evaluate digital experience platforms based on how well commerce and content technologies integrate with each other. Anything less, and you may have some explaining to do with your customers.