The bricks-and-mortar store is in a state of flux. Retailers across the globe are looking at modern trends and assessing what today’s customer expects from their in-store experience. E-commerce has altered the retail dynamic, enabling an omni-channel buying environment and changing the role of the physical store. While the launch of Amazon Go disrupted the industry with frictionless checkout it was their investment in Whole Foods that really turned heads. It sets the two retail imperatives as customer convenience and reducing the cost to serve, be that through radical approaches to the checkout line, or to home delivery.
At Zynstra, we’ve noticed that these developments have led to increased pressure on Chief Digital Officers, Chief Information Officers, Store Operations and other senior decision makers to shape this in-store revolution while simultaneously driving cost savings and operational efficiency. Despite the e-commerce boom, it is the physical store that remains the most influential of spaces in this regard, and the environment in which there are the most significant savings and improvements to make.
This is not the only problem weighing heavy on the shoulders of retail decision-makers. On top of this lies the need to determine how these stores can be leveraged to further instil and support brand values, and to build a platform for innovation that will entice shoppers of all ages back into these bricks-and-mortar stores.
The most common obstacle faced by retailers, however, is the ability to reduce the cost to serve through driving operational efficiency while in parallel encouraging innovation — not stifling it.
The first step towards achieving this is adopting an IT and technology infrastructure that accommodates these needs, and a major step in achieving this is the consolidation of their in-store compute resources. By enabling large-scale consolidation and reducing the physical IT footprint, retailers can benefit from a more efficient infrastructure that naturally drives efficiencies within the store.