We all know retail is in a state of tremendous change. The growth of online, mobile, and social commerce channels has put traditional retail on notice: either change or die. Change, however, doesn’t need to be radical. In many cases, retailers can “win” by adopting new technologies and new practices, based on data analysis, to their already solid—but increasingly at-risk—retail businesses.
In the past few years, and recently with greater velocity, I’ve seen retailers adopt what I believe are the ‘new best practices’ in retail. Some are omnichannel strategies that have been discussed at length and well documented. Organizations have omnichannel strategies, omnichannel teams and even chief omnichannel officers, all with a mission of ensuring the customer experience is as efficient and consistent in-store as online, and that brand experience transcends channels. However, what has been discussed less is how retailers are using the myriad of new data sources to drive practical improvements in the everyday management of their physical retail operations.
It’s important to recognize that physical retail is fundamentally different than online retail. A physical shopping experience is just that—physical. Customers are influenced by numerous factors; understanding what drives shopper behavior is complicated, and, as such, the ‘secret sauce’ of influencing behavior is even more complicated.
The Tom Cruise hit movie Minority Report was released 12 years ago, and featured a scene where his character was instantly identified as he walked into a store. Personalized, content-specific messaging was pushed towards him before he could even open his mouth. At the time, it seemed to be pure science fiction; but today, technology makes scenes like that well within reach and perhaps even routine. As a result, a new set of best practices is evolving to help retailers compete and win. I’ve outlined several of these new best practices below
Operations – Front Door Analytics
Operations – Beyond the Door Analytics
Brick-and-mortar retail is at a pivotal point as online shopping continues to outpace its growth year over year. There is clearly a need for physical retail, but traditional practices will not deliver the experience expected by today’s shoppers. Just as shoppers have taken control of their online experience, they are wielding greater influence with retailers and shaping the store experience of the future. In the “change-or-die” reality of today’s retail landscape, the retailers who embrace new best practices will be best positioned to become the retailers of choice.