It’s now or never for the retail industry to embrace technology, break down silos and focus on new customer experience to survive. So says digital commerce strategy consultant Gabrielle Hase and founder of ASOS Ventures, Daniel Bobroff in a new report.
The ‘Road to Digitalization in Retailing’ report by Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, interviewed more than 900 managers and non-managers in global retailers – including Bobroff – and finds that retailers need to act now or die to survive in the digital world.
To set its recommendations in context, the study highlights five key trends that have emerged:
When looking at transformation projects, retailers should look at new ways of measuring success and think longer-term on ROI, ASOS’s Bobroff believes. “We are talking about continuous innovation, and ROI tends to limit the horizon: you either hit the target, or you kill the project. There need to be other metrics that help us move towards success.”
Retailers, he believes, must also accept that the talent they need for digital transformation cannot all be recruited into traditional, in-house roles. “We live in a world where it’s sexier to work in a fast-moving start-up or build your own than it is to go and work for a legacy retailer. To access the highly talented engineers in this space, of which there is a shortage, you need to outsource. You need to create a culture which allows you to combine internal and external resource and get them working together.”
Successful retailers will go where their customer wants them to be. That means breaking down internal silos and using technology at every stage of the business to ensure a seamless, integrated experience for employees and customers alike.
In the Aruba study, retailer workers said they saw a rise in productivity (72%), wellbeing (62%) and the ability to differentiate against the competition (59%) as a direct impact of digital workplace technology.
Gerri Hinkel, director of solutions marketing for Aruba, concludes:“The future of retail is all about experiences – for shoppers, associates, and IT. Shoppers are driven not only by product, but are making choices on where they shop by how easy that retailer makes their life. The retailers who will succeed will make those experiences simple, smart and personalized, but to get there, they must be bold in making technology investments and fearless as they innovative their store of the future.”