The way forward for retail is in digital technology
CONSUMERS are increasingly more digital. So, the retail industry’s shift towards technological approaches is really just a matter of time.
Previously, retailers viewed technology as a tool to maximize output. Though it is no longer just a utility, technology is essential to strategic changes in the business to keep its relevance.
More accurately, it is a guide to serve retail consumers better and improve the business model through software and data.
Advances in bleeding edge technologies enable retailers to review their operations in value-added lenses.
For example, with artificial intelligence (AI), retailers can cost-effectively personalize the retail journey of a consumer.
In the competitive digital arena, retailers will need all they can get to turbocharge the customer experience (CX).
Cloud technology can help retailers capture real-time status of consignments, digitized documents from suppliers, carriers, and logistics providers.
This will come in handy for inventory management, especially during sales periods.
Beyond the obvious retail use of AI and cloud technology, there are other advancements that will revolutionize the industry too.
The cashless infrastructure is setting the retail world on fire as mobile penetration skyrockets. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are also getting cozy in retail advertisements.
Regardless of the technology of choice, it must be compatible with the retail business itself.
Merging the past and present for the future
To develop new ways of operating, big names in retail are heavily collaborating with tech companies.
Marks & Spencer (M&S) is striving to create a digital-first business model by feeding its 135 years worth of retail expertise to AI capabilities.
M&S CEO Steve Rowe noted that it is a customer-led revolution that will change retail both in its stores and behind the scenes.
Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) has been providing healthcare retail for over 170 years and will be migrating the know-how to cloud.
WBA CEO Stefano Pessina said that the technology will deliver better customer experience through digitally enabled health care delivery solutions.
At the end of the day, owning technology alone is not going to bring business success. It’s about planning the operations with technology strategically positioned as the backbone.
To achieve that, it is critical for both retail and technology expertise to come together.
This is to develop the most sustainable business blueprint that’s specific for the future of retail.