Welcome to Internet Retailing’s fourth annual Procurement Guide, in which we consider the challenges facing cross-channel and ecommerce retailers, and the technology and services that can help them come up with solutions.
This year’s guide comes at a time of change for procurement professionals working within a fast-moving retail environment. In recent years, the growing popularity of mobile devices, from smartphones to tablet computers, has utterly altered the way that digital shoppers buy – and more of us are now using digital to buy all the time.
It’s such a pervasive change that it’s reflected in the fact we no longer have a mobile section in this guide: rather, every feature is informed by mobile because it’s a technology that drives, rather than merely influences, the sector. In this area and others, from the way they deliver to the way they present their wares, retailers face ever more sophisticated consumer expectations as they look to change the way they sell – and fast.
In the pages that follow, we share advice and guidance for those responsible for identifying the solutions that will equip businesses in this sector to meet both current and future consumer demand. It’s guidance that’s informed by the extensive experience and knowledge of the retailers, vendors and other industry professionals to whom we’ve spoken to in the course of our research. We look in detail at how retailers can find long-term solutions that will flex and scale in the future to meet the unpredictable demands of the ‘want it now’ consumer.
It’s a challenging yet exciting time, and in this guide I’m pleased to say that I believe we’ve come up with a strong response that will inform, reassure and advise in equal measure. I hope that you find this a useful guide to have at your fingertips over the year ahead.
As ever, our colleagues in the industry have been helpful with their insights, and we thank you all, whether you’re a retailer, a sponsor or a supplier.
We look forward to hearing your thoughts, especially as we approach the 2016 edition of this guide. Tell us if there are new emerging technologies,ideas or approaches that you want to see weighed and analysed in next year’s publication. Share your views, ideas and feedback with me at ian@ internetretailing.net.
With best wishes
Co-founder and editor-in-chief