Vision and Requirements
Retailers aspire to grow, not shrink, in an increasingly competitive retail space. They do not want to have their margins eroded and their customers lost to digital “disruptors”. Amazon is a changing the expectations of all retail customers, regardless of the exclusivity of their product. Increasingly, “table stakes” in the eyes of customers is a comparison against what Amazon can provide.
To determine product commitments and stocking levels going forward, Retailers will need to deploy and rely on new Seamless Commerce processes and a sophisticated analytics engine to govern purchasing, positioning, pricing, and fulfillment policies that proactively seek to reduce supply/demand imbalances before they occur.
With that said, Retailers must get the processes, technology, and organizational structures in place (while thoughtfully managing the risks that they present) that will enable them to simultaneously best compete and serve customers in the world of the future where:
|New Retail Reality:||Considerations:|
|The information from every customer is increasingly available; (e.g. their interests, purchase history, purchases and/or images of purchases at other retailers, their sizes combined with personalized preferences and traits that they have opted to share with trusted retailers). This could include their individual, friends, or family’s milestones or experiences.||While more information is available than ever before (particularly unstructured data shich helps to contextualize a customer experience), it will be important for retail and consumer product companies to allow their customers to “opt-in” to the degree of personalization that they desire.|
|A growing percentage of a product assortment is able to be reviewed and compared side by side to every comparable product sold by every competitor – local and global.||Retailers that have relied on strategies that solely relate to their physical location (e.g. low competitor overlap or localized assortments / pricing) will need to determine new value propositions. Only the largest will be able to lead with price as the key differentiator|
|More and more customers, particularly millenials, are choosing to interact live with retailers, some by providing their own user generated content and they want to access to a retailer at any time (e.g. through the Brand e-commerce channel or social media)||Brands and Retailers will need to dramatically increase the power of their analytics teams to seamlessly read and react. Brand “curation” will be be an increasingly complex, but critically important function|
|Market and channel boundaries are becoming less relevant as global fulfillment is more affordable||Shipping algorithms and final mile capabilities will have to be continually piloted and updated|
|Customers want and are starting to expect purchases delivered to them on the same day and within specified hours for certain types of product||The final mile order economics will be to be factored with customer loyalty programs and other contextualized insight to that a “one delivery type fits all” service does not completely drain earnings. Opportunities to partner service and product deliveries in a cloud based “task rabbit” approach should be explored|
Retailers must pursue Seamless Commerce capabilities and prioritize with the expected needs of tomorrow in mind. Their customer’s expectations of service and technology will only continue to increase and the “table stakes” will only go up as new entrants and large retailers experiment and bring new service models.
The transition to Seamless Commerce relies on three main pillars:
This is a second in a series of points of view regarding Seamless Commerce, to read the first entry “The New Retail Mandate” please click https://goo.gl/7nO2cd
Coming soon, Part 3, Getting Started