Trends, Opportunities & Strategies for the Future of Retailing Retail Operating Intelligence Implementing the Future of Retailing http://retailintelligence.wordpress.com/
I. The Evolution of Retailing “The best way to predict the future is to create it” (Abraham Lincoln) The history of the future of retailing is being created today by leading innovative companies such as Amazon, Apple, Disney, Google, Nike and Zara. Each is leading the way forward, pioneering specific initiatives that are defining the future of the retail landscape. Amazon is leading in the mining of deep customer insight and in creating personalized shopping experiences. Apple is leading in the development of “smart” personal devices, Disney is building interactive stores, Google is developing web TV, Nike is integrating live customer input into product design and Zara is redefining the supply chain process. On the consumers’ side, customers are living in a fast-paced, wireless, continuously connected culture and they are looking to easily manage and control their lives through time-shifting technology and smart media devices. A large portion of their life has become “digitized” through emails, instant messages, downloads and virtual social interaction with friends, family and their favorite brands. They are actively engaged with their favorite brands and they are interested in creating their own customized shopping experiences which allow them to shop efficiently on their own terms, at the time and place of their choosing. These two worlds are quickly converging, with the retailers’ technological and process advances enabling them to precisely target and engage the demanding customers who want to shop on their own terms. The leaders and winners in the next generation of retailing will be the brands that fully integrate these technological and process advances across the organization, while empowering and developing a personalized connection with the on-demand, digital customer.
I. The Evolution of Retailing The consumers’ acceptance of internet shopping in the prior decade led to the development of multi-channel retailing, with leading companies broadening their marketing reach and integrating operations to maximize cross-channel synergies. The next five years will see the on-going convergence of smart technology, consumer insight, interactive-multi-channel marketing and an express supply chain, all providing real-time insight and access to the digital customer. These brand driven advances in marketing, technology and the supply chain, along with the progression of the customer’s digital lifestyle, will create a dynamic customer to brand relationship and interactive shopping experience. The customer will have creative input and a social connection with the brand, while the brand will have extensive real-time knowledge and precise targeting capabilities of the customer. A comprehensive retail strategy that integrates these initiatives across the organization will support and empower the customer to design their personal shopping experience and shop on their own terms: when, where and how they wish. This puts the shopping controls in the hands of the consumer. ROI: Retail Operating Intelligence
I. The Evolution of Retailing The Future of Retailing ~ Integrated Business Model ~ Components of a fully integrated on-demand retailing strategy
II. The On-Demand Generation The future of shopping is literally at the fingertips of the consumer The customer, through smart media devices and engagement with the brand, will have the ability to create and control their own personal shopping experience. They will hold the remote control of their shopping experience; choosing when to shop, where to shop, how they want the product presented, even designing their own product, all from their Web-TV, smart mobile device or smart retail store. The brands that understand, anticipate and respond quickly to the customer’s shopping preferences will flourish, while others will play catch up. With live, multi-media brand access, the customer will have personal control over their shopping experience, just as he/she has control over the TV viewing experience today. This is the future of retailing; interactive, real-time, mobile, customer controlled, on-demand retailing with brands providing responsiveness through targeted, personalized marketing. ROI: Retail Operating Intelligence
II. The On-Demand Generation There is an entire generation maturing now that was brought up with the internet and digital world being a formative part of their lives. They take “Googling”, socializing and shopping on-line for granted. They are accustomed to the instant gratification offered through the digital world; shopping, downloading and instant messaging at anytime. They have grown to expect to have their world structured on their own terms, on-demand. This “wired” group entrusts and relies on the digital world to transparently augment their daily lives. Society in general is also adapting to new technology at an accelerating pace, re-shaping the retail landscape. Video stores are quickly disappearing with the shift to movie downloading. Bookstores will continue to evolve from print sellers to social gathering places with the mass adoption and price reduction of e-readers and personal tablets. Smart phones are readily accessible, allowing consumers a constant connection to their social contacts and valued retail brands. The imminent web/TV convergence will allow for seamless web access, strengthening the web as an informative and entertaining marketing channel, directly in the consumers’ living rooms. The responsive, innovative retailers will implement a business strategy that embraces the consumers’ freedom of choice and empowers them with personalized and flexible shopping options. ROI: Retail Operating Intelligence
II. The On-Demand Generation Consumers will utilize advanced technology to interactively customize and control their busy world
II. The On-Demand Generation The Future of Retailing ~ The On-Demand Customer Profile ~ ROI: Retail Operating Intelligence
III. Customized Shopping – Have It Your Way The consumers’ increasing capabilities to interact in real-time with retailers through the web, television or mobile devices will certainly transform the way shopping is transacted. Brand insight of extensive consumer activity will intuitively recommend relevant product offerings and empower the consumer with the ability to craft his or her own personalized shopping experience. Technology will enable virtual, personal stores with products and a shopping format based on previous shopping history, interests and preferences. Amazon’s “wish lists” and Zappo’s “favorites” will evolve into personal storefronts, accessible by the specific consumer and invited friends, family and social networks. Consumers will also have the ability for much more input into the actual design of their product choices. On select products today, Nike allows the customer the option to customize the design of their own shoe. On-going advances in consumer behavior analysis and interactive communication flow will allow personalization capabilities to become a powerful competitive advantage. A strategy that provides the consumer with targeted choices and customization options will enable the consumer to create a truly personal shopping experience of their own design.
III. Customized Shopping – Have It Your Way The Future of Retailing ~ Customized Shopping Profile ~ ROI: Retail Operating Intelligence
IV. Customer Insight - The CIA: Customer Intelligence Agency With the increased use of the internet, there is an ever growing data-base of consumer activity being accumulated. Advances in marketing intelligence data-mining and purchase behavior modeling will enable the brands to accurately utilize the cloud data to predict and target a specific customer’s purchase interests. Customer targeting will become much more intuitive and accurate as segmentation models are enhanced. This process will allow for efficient costumer contact strategies with relevant and actionable product suggestions targeted to specific customers. Today, Amazon supplies customized selections and suggestions based on a customer’s prior or similar purchase history. Enhancing this in the future with improved data base analysis and statistical modeling will allow for a relevant, targeted product presentation and a personalized shopping experience. The on-demand retail customer will access their multi-media device of choice and see a customized shopping presentation, targeted according to their personal shopping preferences and potential interests. The accuracy of the targeting and product suggestions will determine the customer’s loyalty and propensity to bond with and support the brand. Consumer privacy rights are a sensitive issue as there are serious personal security implications resulting from misuse of consumer information. This will be an on-going topic in the future as consumers inundate the web with personal data, and organizations work to gain access to better understand and target potential customers. To navigate this sensitive issue, retailers will have to earn the trust and respect of the customers they communicate with. A trusted relationship will allow the customer the benefits of a highly customized shopping experience while the retailers will benefit from a depth of rich historical data.
IV. Customer Insight - The CIA: Customer Intelligence Agency The Future of Retailing ~ Customer Insight ~ ROI: Retail Operating Intelligence
V. Multi-Channel Digital Retailing Wireless Retailing Has No Boundaries The prior decade saw the consumers’ acceptance and migration to web retailing and the implementation of multi-channel retailing as the dominant growth strategy. Retailers realized the synergistic marketing and operational benefits of presence in more than one selling channel, along with new methods to reach consumers. Web presence, email and web search contact strategies became required business standards. Multi-channel retailing enabled the brands to efficiently engage the customer across multiple channels; stores, web and print, uniformly driving brand awareness and purchase motivation. The multi-channel retailing strategy will continue to be the foundation for consumer retailing over the next decade, however, the channels will evolve to include various forms of interactive multi-media, distributed through smart devices and digital media. The future multi-media retailing channels will be merged web/TV, mobile phones, tablets, interactive retail stores, social media and digital kiosks. These multiple selling channels will be interconnected and allow the customer a seamless shopping experience across all channels. The leading brands will operate through a diverse variety of selling channels, while the infrastructure remains transparent to the customer. A great example of this multi-channel digital strategy today is Crate & Barrel, which has a robust store, catalog and on-line presence and is also aggressively promoting mobile shopping, social commerce and location based coupon offers.
V. Multi-Channel Digital Retailing Brand Each channel supports the others and connects seamlessly, presenting a cohesive brand image, amplifying the marketing message and operational synergies.
V. Multi-Channel Digital Retailing The Future of Retailing ~ Multi-Channel Digital Retailing ~ ROI: Retail Operating Intelligence
VI. The Premier of Interactive Marketing Welcome to Interactive, Multi-Media Marketing! Advances in technology will allow for personalized, one-to-one customer to brand interactivity. Innovative brands will present a host of entertaining shopping options to interest and engage the digital consumers. As an extension of the customer customization strategy, consumers will be able to virtually model different styles of clothing or perhaps virtually see furniture as it would appear in their own living room. Colors and styles can be altered on the fly. Smart digital medial will allow all of this interaction to take place anywhere at anytime. Real-time connections will allow for communication with family or friends to solicit their instant opinions. Shopping for many is a social event and this remains true online as social networking virtually supports this. Retailers who maintain a fluid, interactive dialog with these social consumers will build brand loyalty. Ultimately, this interactive brand shopping experience is entirely at the consumers’ choosing; transforming shopping into a truly customer driven, personalized, on-demand initiative ROI: Retail Operating Intelligence
VI. The Premier of Interactive Marketing “Retailtainment” – Coming soon to a mall or living room near you! As the bricks and mortar retail stores compete for the consumers’ attention amongst the variety of digital shopping and entertainment options, they will more than ever need to become intriguing shopping destinations. Retail stores will continue to be the physical manifestation of the brand, wired to supply the information, services and options readily accessible through the web. Retail stores will become wired “smart-stores” and “retailtainment” centers with multi-media interactivity and virtual product demonstrations. The Walt Disney Company is currently remodeling all of its retail stores to include a new, playful, interactive, customer participatory concept. As is done in the Apple and other retail stores, mobile checkout and social community gatherings will be part of the experience. ROI: Retail Operating Intelligence
VI. The Premier of Interactive Marketing The Future of Retailing ~ Interactive Marketing Profile ~ ROI: Retail Operating Intelligence
VII. The Graduation of Smart Technology The origin of “Smart”, anywhere, anytime technology! The pace of technological change is increasing exponentially, creating new platforms and opportunities to reach, communicate and transact with consumers. The leading retailers will invest wisely in new “smart” technology and rigorously pursue innovative applications to reach the digitally connected customers. The on-demand generation of consumers are impulsive and lack the patience to shop through the conventional “old world” retail processes. They require real-time, instant communication and the ability to interact with people and businesses seamlessly. They expect innovative, fun and functional technology to enhance their lifestyle. The consumers’ online and offline worlds will most likely be managed by two linked multi-media devices; the morphed web/computer/TV and a personal mobile device. They will organize their daily lives with these two devices, allowing them to efficiently manage all activities. With this advanced, yet user friendly technological landscape, consumers will be expecting relevant and personalized service from retailers. ROI: Retail Operating Intelligence
VII. The Graduation of Smart Technology Coming this Fall to Your Television Set The converged Web/Computer/TV, seamlessly linked to the smart personal mobile device, will be the interactive connection to the digital world. This concept is quickly becoming a reality as the technology already exists that allows a smart phone to communicate with a computer or television. Consumers are currently shifting viewing time from the television to the computer, as the quality of web content and downloading options expand and improve. Web access through the TV will soon become mainstream as the confluence of the TV and the web is imminent. Innovative leaders such as Google and others are working feverishly to bring these smart devices to the mass market. The morphed TV/Web device will be the household control center for easily accessing entertainment and information. With the implementation of the Web/TV, the retailers’ web sites will be one of many viewing options, along with traditional television networks, cable networks and the easily accessible web based networks. This puts major emphasis on the retailers’ on-going development of their web sites to be meaningful destinations to communicate with, educate, entertain and convert viewers to loyal customers. The increased use of video for product demonstrations is a perfect use of the Web/TV platform.
VII. The Graduation of Smart Technology Mobile Shopping, Anywhere, Anytime Mobile shopping options will empower consumers with additional freedom and a new set of tools to enlighten their shopping experience. Consumers’ mobile devices will enable them easy access to all of the pertinent information necessary to make a comprehensive product evaluation at the point of purchase. Brands are quickly embracing and developing this new selling channel with innovative applications that permit easy shopping along with marketing and promotional messaging capabilities. Location based marketing promotions and the ability to scan any item for detailed product data and competitive comparisons are also quickly being adapted by consumers. Mobile access to social networks and review services such as Yelp, allow for real-time insight and advice, making mobile shopping a fun and functional shopping experience. ROI: Retail Operating Intelligence
VII. The Graduation of Smart Technology The Future of Retailing ~ Smart Technology Profile ~ ROI: Retail Operating Intelligence
VIII. All Aboard the Supply Chain Express Another critical, but less glamorous component of future retailing success will be the implementation of increasingly faster and responsive supply chains. This segment of the industry will have to step-up and challenge the accepted status quo. The leading companies that want to meet the needs of the real-time, instant access, impatient customer will recognize this opportunity and invest accordingly. An express supply chain is all about speed, simplicity and efficiency to design, produce and deliver product to the customer. Product development schedules and production lead times must be reduced through initiatives such as domestic sourcing, flex production and expedited delivery. Same day or overnight delivery systems will be re-engineered to become cost favorable, satisfying the real-time customer’s expectations and putting further pressure on the practicality of the brick/mortar store model. Today, the retailer Zara in Europe has engineered a supply chain that can design, produce and deliver a fashion product in thirty days. ROI: Retail Operating Intelligence
VIII. All Aboard the Supply Chain Express Another innovative enhancement to the supply chain is Sears’ alternative delivery and pickup options currently being offered to customers. In some markets today Sears offers the customer the option to buy online and pickup in-store and they are also testing convenient drive-through online order pick up locations. Think of the possibilities when real-time selling data and instant customer feedback can be used to indentify emerging trends. New or hot selling products can be quickly developed and delivered, optimizing sales opportunities. On select products today, Nike allows the customer the option to customize the shoe design and have it delivered within a reasonable time.Customer feedback or opinion pools can be utilized to guide product development. This type of customer influenced design will become much more prevalent in the future as technology, production and supply chain advances make this feasible. ROI: Retail Operating Intelligence
VIII. All Aboard the Supply Chain Express The Future of Retailing ~ Express Supply Chain Profile ~ ROI: Retail Operating Intelligence
IX. The Responsive Organization Speed is essential to stay ahead of the pack The on-demand customer is utilizing technology to help them organize and improve the quality of their busy lives. They connect to the digital world to access pertinent, real-time information, and they expect an instant response to their requests. They will build loyal and trusted relationships with the services and retailers that provide them with the fastest response of accurate, entertaining and relevant information. To succeed in the fast paced, ever changing, on-demand retail world, an organization must promote a forward thinking, fast moving, responsive culture across all functions. This is a cohesive operating strategy that is focused on maximizing the connection, understanding, communication and delivery to the on-demand customer. Speed of process, data interpretation and innovation will be required to enable the retailer to evolve along with the customer. ROI: Retail Operating Intelligence
IX. The Responsive Organization The Future of Retailing ~ Responsive Organization Profile ~ The responsive organization is structured for speed of technology, process and customer insight, to serve the on-demand consumer. ROI: Retail Operating Intelligence
X. Putting It All Together ~ The Winning Strategy “Great moments are born from great opportunities.” Coach Herb Brooks The future of retailing is interactive, virtual, intuitive, customized and on-demand. Although the pace of technological change sometimes seems intimidating, the brands that develop a responsive organization which respects, understands and engages the on-demand customer will progress and succeed in the future digital retailing world. This comprehensive organizational strategy requires integration of the latest “smart” technology, advanced intuitive customer insight, stimulating interactive marketing, a cohesive multi-channel marketing network and an accelerated supply chain to bond with the demanding and selective customer. The customer will have more choice, control and power than ever before. The organizations that create an authentic, personal, interactive and responsive connection with them will flourish. ROI: Retail Operating Intelligence
X. Putting It All Together ~ The Winning Strategy The Future of Retailing ~ The Synthesis of the Brand and the Consumer ~ The customer will have unprecedented access to the brand on their own terms, while the brand will have in-depth knowledge and precise targeting capabilities of the customer. ROI: Retail Operating Intelligence