Retail Executive

NOV/DEC 2017

Retail Executive is the trusted advisor to top retail executives from the industry’s most profitable retailers. We help retail executives succeed in their job role and grow their business via exclusive, actionable, peer-driven content.

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Page 41 of 47

Retail Apocalypse Vs. Retail Transformation For retailers who are not well into their transformation to a ubiquitous, real-time retail customer journey, the key to survival is to redouble their efforts before the competition puts them out of business. P E R R Y K R A M E R Vice President and Practice Lead, BRP ee without a mobile tool. With a wealth of information at consumers' fingertips, retailers need to equip their store associates with mobile technology to access more information than their customers have. Mobile capabil- ities enable sales associates to never leave the custom- er's side to "find a product or look up something," which helps avoid customer abandonment, adds personaliza- tion, and saves the sale. REAL-TIME RETAIL To keep the customer as the epicenter of the retail trans- action, retailers need to migrate to an environment that offers real-time access to enterprisewide product infor- mation, customer preferences, and transaction history across all channels. To meet the new set of customer expectations, modern customer engagement, merchan- dising, order management, and inventory management systems must be integrated in real time and seamlessly accessible by the sales associate. Top retailers have ad- opted and implemented a unified commerce platform with real time retail information at the fingertips of their sales associates. Most retailers are working to meet these rapid- ly changing customer expectations, as 84 percent of retailers surveyed in the BRP survey indicated they would have real-time retail implemented within three years. Many retailers have implemented some pieces of this future-state requirement, but only the very suc- cessful have been able to extend the real-time technol- ogy so that it touches the customer consistently across all channels. While retail is definitely going through challenging times, the transformation is exciting with new technol- ogies and opportunities arising to enhance the custom- er journey. The next year will bring further transforma- tion driving fundamental changes in retail. The time is now to innovate the customer experience by transform- ing retail operations for the new customer journey. The future of retail is here — ready or not. R ith a flurry of bankruptcies and store closure announcements in 2017, the "Retail Apocalypse" phrase has be- come the topic of many conversations. While the doom and gloom of an apocalypse is not likely to be a reality, there is no argument that change, turmoil, and disruption is reshaping the world of retail. To meet consumer expectations and avoid a potential retail apocalypse, successful retailers are transforming their retail and customer engagement models. Retailers need to deliver this experience to thrive and, in many cases, increase their store count and profits. Retailers who are successfully meeting these evolving customer expectations are taking a holistic approach to defining their customer's journey and understand that change is needed at almost every point in their enter- prise. Critical focus points for success include optimiz- ing customer engagement, adopting mobile technology, and achieving real-time retail across the enterprise. CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT Top retailers realize that evolving and improving the way they engage the customer is key to surviving. According to BRP's 2017 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce survey, 55 percent of retailers indicate that optimizing the customer experience is their top priority. Retailers realize they need a new approach to enable a unified ex- perience, an approach that supports the convergence of the digital and physical worlds, as they engage their cus- tomers in a consistent and ubiquitous experience. MOBILE Consumers increasingly use mobile devices as a key shopping tool with statistics indicating that a whop- ping 84 percent of shoppers use their mobile devices in physical stores for competitive shopping, product information, or consulting with friends. For retailers not already leveraging mobile tools, the customer with a mobile device has more information than an employ- W APOCALYPSE Deep Dive By P. Kramer RETAIL APOCALYPSE VS. RETAIL TRANSFORMATION RETAILEXECUTIVE.COM NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 40

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