The Store of the Future
The Customer Reality and the Technical Chasm
The need to experiment with new applications and services has never been greater. Operations want new ways to achieve maximum efficiency in store operations to reduce costs while Marketing are demanding innovative new in-store services, using everything from AI to VR, to revolutionize the customer experience.
The truth is, no one has the complete answer – but to do nothing is no longer an option. Those who embrace new approaches with technologies will put themselves in the strongest position to deliver what their businesses (and customers) are demanding.
Whether it is developing higher levels of buyer convenience or more immersive customer experiences in store the common challenge is that neither strategy can be supported by existing technology infrastructures. The problem is that in-store IT was built for a different age. Many retailers find themselves forced to work around technology that dramatically impacts operational cost, reduces their ability to roll out and support new services, and limits the flexibility with which new customer experiences can be offered in store.
The retailers who are doing this well, are focusing on developing an in-store technology base that can cope with constant change, is less expensive to setup, can be rolled out easily across new stores and, most importantly, is less expensive to refresh.
There is a reason why there were more store openings than closures last year in the US – and why the likes of Amazon and Alibaba are now investing significantly in physical stores. The bottom line is that the store will continue to play the primary role in sales and its where significant opportunities lie. Physical retail accounts for 93% of sales transactions today and latest predictions are that it will still account for 80% of retail sales by 2025
Driving the end-to-end omni-channel customer experience – the combination of face-to-face and on-line channels - to deliver a differentiated customer experience is one of the key focus areas for IT leaders across retail today.