Retail is in an epochal moment, there are disruptors everywhere and our dream of harmonising the consumer experience between the personal (without people) experience online with the impersonal store visit (people everywhere!) IS coming into focus. But between Brexit’s uncertainty, rapidly rising operating costs driven by NLW (that’s the national living wage to you) and staff shortages as valuable EU workers leave, fluctuating currencies and skyrocketing textile and logistics prices a perfect storm is brewing with uncertainty everywhere. With 80% of CFOs averse to taking risk onto the balance sheet, let me ask you a question; are you a giant, unsinkable ship preparing to batten down the hatches and take the buffeting or are you fine-tuned, masterfully engineered and determined to use it as an opportunity to drive yourself to new levels?
Sure, battening down the hatches will probably work if you’re big enough, but who knows how much damage is going to be done. I’m going to assume you’re the latter, since I can’t remember the last time I saw a disruptor who wasn’t. We may all covert the balance sheets of a retail giant, but when was the last time you wished you had as many ERP systems? No, what we want is agility, confidence in our decisions, and, let me throw it out there, to grow your top line a lot more efficiently.
So, the golden question, how do we do that? We all have Big data, we have retail, which, by the way, the customer really does want to enjoy as an experience, and E-tail as well as finance, logistics, suppliers, manufacturing etc. A lot of different data sources. A lot of different spreadsheets from expensive reporting tools managed by even more expensive reporting experts. Everybody does this though, and if we’re being honest with ourselves, none have managed to get past brick and click, just having Big data isn’t enough. Omni-channel goes beyond simply being on multiple channels or platforms. Just because you have a website, a mobile app, and a physical store doesn’t mean that you’re an omni-channel retailer. To truly be one, you must fuse all those channels together, so they give customers a seamless experience.
You’re not going to get to that nirvana of real Omni-channel retailing doing what everyone else does. If you could, one of them would have done it by now. This is where the cornerstone of it all comes in, The Golden Record.
What if you had it? No, not an error strewn de-duplication process, but a true one. What if you could see all of it in one place all the time? Every item of data you capture from every separate source system. Clean, compliant (*cough*GDPR), linked and true. Insights limited only by your own wisdom and unified for singular purpose and crucially, without prior human engineering. The cornerstone of retail (r)evolution is no longer a myth but now a reality, your reality.
What would you do with that? Streamline your IT without buying more? Help marketing be more effective and accountable? Get a bit of control on those supplier and logistics costs? Understand if staff and location really are worth that ever-growing investment? Or maybe, just maybe, be a disruptor, do all of the above AND give the customer that personal Omni-channel retail experience we all dream of. In short, sell more stock for less cost. But now you know why and how and all because of the Golden Record.
So, with this new-found Insight, would you be one of the 80% who batten down the hatches or one of the 20%, become a disruptor, trust in your people and know you’ll be in a better place when the storm breaks.
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