Do you know what the future of retail looks like? If you read Deloitte's new report, they give a clear indication of what retailers must do to keep pace with a rapidly changing industry. It's not just technology, consumer behaviour is also morphing faster than anyone could have predicted. What can retailers do to prepare?
The future of retail
According to Global Powers of Retailing 2013
, the future has already arrived. While technology is driving many of the changes, the way shoppers are using their own technologies is also challenging retailers to deliver a seamless customer experience. In the USA alone, mobile phone usage is predicted to rise to 159 million users by 2015, up from 82 million in 2010. That's a staggering growth rate in five years and Australia will experience a similar projection. Retailers have no choice but to operate in this new frontier if they expect to stay in business.
Deloitte advises retailers to focus on three main activities to meet the future. Every one of them is improved with anintegrated ticketing service
Capitalise on core investments
Retailers are already battling with complex, disparate operating environments and no two retail operations are the same. Deloitte recommends making investments in your core systems to make the shopping experience as seamless as possible for the consumer. With flexibility key to the success of this strategy, Deloitte predicts, "the future leaders of retail will be those who can quickly embrace operational changes brought about by new technologies and anticipate integration of emerging solutions that have not yet been invented."
This sounds the death knell for home grown ticketing solutions which are difficult to maintain. The report goes on to say retailers that invest early in flexibility and align their business around the needs of the customer will become leaders. Those that don't invest in easy-to-implement solutions will find it increasingly difficult to keep up.
Successful retailers of the future will experience a very different working environment thanks largely to the demands of the consumer. Not only will retailers be pressured to create a customer experience that works across multiple channels, they'll have to ensure brand compliance is supported in every location. Of course, consumer protection laws will need to be enforced. Innovation without compliance is a trap which can damage your brand and cost your company money. An integrated ticketing service makes it possible to ensure compliance of your brand and the consumer act.
Additionally, retailers can use technology to their advantage and using optimised merchandising to serve both the consumer and their profit margins. Deloitte makes the recommendation to, "Use real-time data to provide relevant real-time promotions to further personalize the shopping experience.
" The only way to fully implement optimised merchandising is with a ticketing service that complements electronic shelf label (ESL) technology.
Measure and evaluate performance
While the thought of continual transition can seem daunting, be assured leading retailers will succeed due to conventional management techniques. Measuring performance and making adjustments based on findings is what retailers have done for decades. Wrangling "big data" will be an increasingly important part of managing a retail network. Insights from a retail ticketing system can provide real-time data to prevent compliance issues and give indications about the effectiveness of store promotions.
What this means for retailers
The Deloitte Global Powers of Retailing 2013 delves into the future of retail and concludes the future is already upon us. Regardless of the size of your network or your retail segment, consumers are driving change and retailers must keep up. Investing in your core systems and ensuring they're as flexible as possible will ensure you're ready. As the report warns,"There is no silver bullet or single solution. Retailers must commit to making change the "new normal" in their operating model and this means continual evaluation and analysis of this business"
. While ticketing is often overlooked or viewed as a necessary evil, retailers who incorporate a ticketing strategy will turn a challenge into a business asset.