If, like me, you’re of a certain age, you’ll be able to remember the first version of the Apple website. It was all text, had an appalling layout, and was light years from today’s sleek offering. Although that was all of 10 years before the first iPhone appeared so we shouldn’t be too hard on it.
Today, when a large percentage of Apple's audience were not even born then, demand and expectations are very different. Because now we’re in the era of not only same-day delivery, not even within the hour, but with Turkish startup Getir, grocery deliveries are promised within 10 minutes. Yes, you read that correctly. Ten minutes.
So, what has all this got to do with scalable commerce? The answer is everything. But first of all, we need to understand what scalable commerce is.
Put simply, shopping and purchasing options are rapidly increasing, from click-and-collect/BOPIS to BAGA (buy anywhere, get anywhere). And what’s more, same-day delivery is now standard and as we’ve seen, the target is now within 10 minutes. And the simple truth is that aging ERP systems simply can’t cope with the speed and agility required in order to deliver against new consumer demands and expectations.
And it appears that for retailers, this isn't an optional add-on. According to Gartner, “by 2023, organizations that have adopted a scalable commerce approach will outpace competition by 80 percent in the speed of new feature implementation.”
Our Bespoke Lives
Ever been fortunate enough to have a bespoke suit or pair of shoes made for you? Or decided on the exact specification of your new car? It feels pretty special, doesn’t it? And up until now it’s mainly been the preserve of the wealthy few. But one thing the last 12 months has done is make us all appreciate our bespoke lives.
Suddenly, bespoke is for the masses and we demand that brands and retailers play to our tune and not the other way around. This means that agility and flexibility are now key to retail success. Being able to pivot at a moment’s notice, and as we know, that ERP system which cost a fortune is about to collapse under the weight of expectation. Like having our very own concierge service constantly at our beck and call.
One company which knows this is Brightpearl. Helping retailers around the world to leverage their brand strengths by automating post-purchase operational processes, the commerce-focussed SaaS firm has been vocal in its argument that while a "one vendor" approach may have worked for retail businesses in the past, overlooking the need for multi-leveled, immersive retail environment risks consumers looking elsewhere, and never coming back.
“Brands need the ability to curate dynamic and interconnected tech stacks to keep up with consumers’ demand”, says Derek O’Carroll, CEO of Brightpearl. “To do that requires agile systems that enable merchants to quickly integrate a changing roster of best-in-class tools and applications — it’s going to be an essential requirement to keep pace, let alone differentiate, in an already saturated market.”
With that in mind it’s time to think about scalable commerce to develop and nurture positive customer experiences, with an approach that embraces uniqueness and differentiation. Which really all adds up to needing to ensure that your customers are constantly kept informed and engaged, truly making them feel that each is "one of one.’
Because in today’s world, when we want something, we want to feel just that little bit special about ourselves.
Andrew Busby is a top 20 global retail influencer, Forbes contributor, IBM Futurist, and one of the world's most prominent retail thought leaders. Andrew is also the founder and CEO of Retail Reflections, a retail analyst consultancy.
Andrew Busby is a top 20 global retail influencer, Forbes contributor, IBM Futurist and one of the world's most prominent retail thought leaders. Andrew is also the Founder & CEO of Retail Reflections.