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Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Innovating retail business in the age of disruption

ETP Blog - Innovating retail business in the age of disruption

Disruption through technology has revolutionized many industries and one such industry, perhaps, where the impact has been most visible is retail. At the turn of the millennium, technology has brought about a huge shake-up in retail, in two ways:-
i) By bringing about a change in the perception of retailing and its customers,
ii) By adding more dimensions to the traditional methods of retailing

This disruption could very well prove to be a destruction of many retail businesses if they are unable to innovate and get it right. Every retailer has to think about getting better in a way that is different from the rest and work towards getting it right in this fast changing retail environment.

But what does innovation in retail really look like? Below are a few insightful perceptions;

-    Bridging the offline-online gap: Customers, frankly, don’t care if the retail business operates its brick-and-mortar stores and an e-commerce portal, separately or not. For them, it is only about getting their order fulfilled. It is up to the retailer to figure out the process to make sure they meet the customer expectations on time, budget and quality, no matter what channel they have used to make the purchase. 

-    Predicting the problems in advance: The importance of being proactive cannot be stressed upon more, considering the dynamics at play across the retail business. Retailers need to use the art and science of forecasting not only sales and profits, but also pain points that could surface in the future.

-    Data driven retailing: Any retail business can be successful if it has the required resources to track, collect, measure and analyze data. The outcome of the analysis would definitely equip retailers to take calculated risks rather than simply going by their intuitions. Greater the risk, better would be the returns.

-    Going beyond the customer experience: Great customer experience is no more the ‘be all and end all’ of retailing. It should be a relationship that every customer has with their preferred brand or product, and thus other entities involved. Of course, the service and experience will help build and strengthen this relationship. Hence retailers need to provide a better and distinguishing experience for customers to get hooked on and stay loyal.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Omni-channel fulfilment is the biggest retail challenge

Fulfilling the demands of cross-channel operations is the biggest challenge for retail businesses. According to a recent study that involved 400 retail CEOs across the globe, failing to meet omni-channel demand and being unable to sustain 'brick and mortar' sales was the most significant business impediment, cited by 42 per cent of respondents.

The cost of fulfilling orders across channels has increased for 67 per cent of retailer business.

Fulfilling customer returns from orders in-store and online was the biggest challenge, 76 per cent, with 71 per cent of retailers citing it as the most expensive aspect of fulfilling orders.

The research also showed that only 29 per cent retailers consider themselves to be multi-channel, while 26 per cent say having shipping options was very important to meeting customer expectations.

Globally, meeting omni-channel expectations of customers was the biggest priority for the future. It was also the biggest challenge, with 35 per cent citing failing to meet the demands as the biggest concern, and 84 per cent saying they could not currently fulfil omni-channel demand profitably.

The cost of fulfilment, especially returns, was cited as the most expensive aspect of omni-channel operations.

Chief executives surveyed are investing an average of 29 per cent of capital expenditure this year on improving omni-channel fulfilment capabilities.

Globally, CEOs are more upbeat about long-term growth as opposed to growth in the near-term, with most expressing rising confidence in revenue growth over the next 12 months compared to last year.

Source: http://www.cips.org/supply-management/news/2015/may/omni-channel-fulfilment-is-biggest-retail-challenge/