The retail sector is one that thrives and dies by the buying decisions of consumers, and in today’s world, with millions of retailers, the competition is becoming increasingly fierce. Because the industry is consumer-driven, retailers must keep a pulse on consumer sentiment, which poses the challenge of keeping up with their demands and changing needs.
…and we know that today’s consumer demands more.
Consumers are looking to companies to do more than just sell – they must provide a favorable experience during every step of the sales cycle, which could range from a tweet, to an ecommerce transaction, to an in-store consultation. Consumers expect products on-demand (think about the potential use of drones to deliver products as Amazon pointed out through a promotional video), good and personalized deals, rewards for loyalty, and quick easy transactions. To keep pace, retailers must ensure that their companies are innovating in every way – from their offerings and inventory, through to their systems and processes.
But it seems that retailers aren’t fully executing digital capabilities as they should, or could be, to drive higher engagement and increase sales. It also seems that retailers might be innovating quicker if they had access to the right talent that possess the required skills. These challenges will pose a problem as retailers strive to stay competitive.
A recent study, Driving Retail Innovation: The Demand for Digital Capabilities to Transform the Industry, points out that:
“Despite the advances in information technology (IT) and an Internet penetration rate of over 75% in developed countries (ITU 2013), e-commerce sales as a share of US retail sales remained at 5.8% of total US retail sales in 2013 (US Census Bureau 2013). This figure might be contradictory to our intuition, but it shows that IT has not fully leveraged its potential to bring the retail industry to the next level.”
After further review, the research uncovers four key lessons and related conclusions for retail organizations wanting to build up the right digital capabilities for the future – things all retailers must consider.
To discover the four key lessons and read more on the results of this study and how the retailers used job descriptions and a text analysis to formulate their findings, check out pages 45-55 of, 360° the business transformation journal.