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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.

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