What Lies Beneath – Stibo Systems and InternetRetailing White Paper

How, in the digital age, accumulated changes – sometimes incremental, sometimes sudden, and often not seen by the consumer – have transformed the way retailers do business.

What Lies Beneath - Stibo Systems and InternetRetailing White Paper

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Welcome to the latest white paper in our series considering areas within digital commerce where change – an overarching theme over these pages – is at its most dynamic. Our subject this time around is how developments within retail practice, such as offering a click-and collect service or launching a transactional mobile site, can affect the entire business, often in unexpected ways.

How best to illustrate this theme? Those viewing a print copy may already notice this white paper is chunkier than its predecessors. That’s because, in great part to show how retail is evolving at a pace that’s sometimes difficult to see from the inside looking out, we’ve also gathered together three previous white papers produced in conjunction with Stibo Systems.

The first, Multi-Everything (initially published in 2012), sets out issues that are still live around managing data, especially product data, within cross-channel retail. Insight to Action (2013) shifts the focus to how businesses can best use data to drive sales. The Foundations of a Consistent Customer Experience (2014) refines our ideas still further, considering the role both of data and of key digital technologies in customer experience-centred retail, which we defined as “essentially omni-channel… with a human face”.

For this latest and framing white paper, we look back at what we’ve found, but also ahead. We consider how the developments we’ve charted, and developments yet to come, will shape and change (that word again) retail in the years ahead as we enter the era of customer experience-centred retail and, not so far out, a world where the digital and physical worlds blur together as the so-called Internet of Things becomes a reality.

This report examines six key areas:

  • Digital technology and changing customer behaviours
  • Digital disruption
  • How retail is increasingly a data-driven business
  • How retailers need to improve the quality of customers data
  • Why when data is consistent, it’s easier to implement changes within the business
  • Why the companies that use data best will be those that thrive