When EDI first came into use, supply chains were simpler, with a limited number of suppliers. Now, thanks to globalization and specialized manufacturing, there might be hundreds of suppliers in a supply chain. And, as prices change, businesses move overseas, and market conditions evolve, these suppliers change as well.
I began my career in retail technology in 1992, a few years before Amazon began selling books online and would, as we all know, go on to forever redefine retail and consumer behavior. In all that time, data about customers, inventory, service, and marketing simmered below the surface of retail organizations — never rising to the level of prioritization that would have empowered us to leverage it to full effect.
The retail industry is undergoing a massive change due to technology. In Asia, online retailers are flourishing because of their ability to target consumers anytime, anywhere, and across international borders. However, many traditional retailers are struggling as a result, finding it difficult to bring consumers into physical stores.
Retailers have long understood that ‘knowing the customer’ is crucial for maintaining loyalty and standing apart from the competition. Today, in the age of Amazon, it’s more critical than ever for retailers to access and leverage data to transform the customer experience.
It is a common misconception that omnichannel is a matter of connecting system A to system B to create a new mobile app or bring the latest channel online. Today, omnichannel is about becoming channel-agnostic. And if there is one thing the last decade has taught us, it is that new channels and new ways of interacting with consumers emerge rapidly.
The retail landscape is becoming increasingly competitive, with Amazon repeatedly disrupting the industry. It can seem like the retail industry is in crisis; what is actually happening, though, is that the retail industry is undergoing some profound changes and most retailers are treading water.
ECommerce is thriving in the UK. According to IMRG, £133 billion was spent online in 2016—a number expected to increase by 14 percent this year largely due to sales made on smartphones. As a result, traditional retailers need to meet changing consumer expectations and stay competitive by offering true omnichannel experiences.
Critical to offering customers seamless omnichannel experiences is a careful orchestration of digital technologies, largely explaining why 69 percent of global retailers plan to increase digital transformation investments this year.
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