Right-now. That’s the buzz in the new world of retail. Consumers don’t have to wait for anything today. It’s all right there, for them to see and experience. They see no reason to wait or pay a premium for anything. With renewed optimism, a fast-paced society, and an even faster-paced change in technology, consumers want new, different, and customized goods – now.
Enterprises can certainly live up to that, by living up to the retail mantra of today – better, faster, leaner. With the immense growth observed and greater confidence in the economy, retailers hope to see consumers demonstrate some serious spending power. However, retailers will have to focus more on the digital front — ‘channelize, mobilize and socialize’ to stay ahead in today’s ‘click-and-mortar’ retail game.
Here are some of the emerging trends in the Retail and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry that eJAmerica is observing:
- Omnichannel retailing – Retailers are using technology to create a seamless shopping experience across all channels, including brick-and-mortar stores, e-commerce, and mobile.
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning – Retailers and CPG companies are using AI and machine learning to optimize operations, personalize customer experiences, and improve sales.
- Cloud Computing – Cloud computing is enabling retailers and CPG companies to store and manage vast amounts of data, reduce costs, and improve scalability.
- Predictive Analytics – Predictive analytics is being used to predict customer behavior, sales trends, and supply chain needs to make data-driven decisions.
- Internet of Things (IoT) – IoT devices are being used to monitor and improve supply chain operations, store operations, and customer experiences.
- Automated Inventory Management – Retailers and CPG companies are using automated inventory management systems to improve accuracy and reduce waste.
- Customer Experience Management (CEM) – Retailers and CPG companies are using technology to understand and personalize the customer experience, from marketing and sales to customer service and support.
- Digital Transformation – Retailers and CPG companies are undergoing digital transformations to stay ahead of the competition and meet customer demands for convenience and personalization.
- Mobile Commerce – Mobile commerce is transforming the way customers shop, allowing them to purchase products from anywhere, at any time.
- E-Commerce – E-commerce continues to grow as a key sales channel for retailers and CPG companies, requiring new technologies and strategies to meet customer expectations.
Challenges and opportunities
Multi-channel retailing: The more your consumers see you, the more they’ll want to know about you. Online consumers will buy if they’ve seen it, like it, and are convinced of it. Their product research actually drives more land-store sales than online sales. So, all channels where the consumer might get information from — the retail store, website, and catalogue — must be closely aligned and monitored for maximum impact and hence, sales.
Mobility in retail: Consumers around the world are ready to use mobile devices to shop, compare, and transact on the web or in stores. Market research indicates that nearly 70percent of consumers across the globe always have their mobile devices with them while they are in a store — which they use to consult family and friends about their purchase. This gives retailers an unprecedented opportunity to make an impact on the consumers at their so-called ‘moment of truth’.
Digital consumers: Today’s consumer has access to information at a click – about product assortment, pricing, quality, and everything else there is to know. Given the scenario, companies can create more walletshare by reaching out across digital channels — mobiles, interactive TVs, social communities. In-store technology like smart kiosks and digital signages hold immense potential to observe and influence shopping behavior. With traditional media failing to deliver the impact it once did, mastering ‘group’ coupons and social channels, in addition to email and search ads, rounds out a retail strategy to maximize today’s ‘convergence of opportunities
Here are a set of IT services that eJAmerica can offer a Retail and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) customer with the software supported against each:
- E-commerce platform development – Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce
- Point of Sale (POS) systems – Square, Lightspeed, Shopify POS
- Inventory Management – SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – Salesforce, Hubspot, Zoho CRM
- Data Analytics – Tableau, PowerBI, Google Analytics
- Marketing Automation – Marketo, Pardot, Hubspot
- Supply Chain Management (SCM) – SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics
- Logistics Management – SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics
- Product Information Management (PIM) – Akeneo, Pimcore, Informatica
- Mobile Application Development – React Native, Xamarin, Ionic
- Predictive Analytics – RapidMiner, KNIME, IBM SPSS
- Retail Analytics – IBM Watson, SAP Leonardo, Google Analytics
- Business Intelligence (BI) – Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, QlikView
- Social Media Management – Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Buffer
- Customer Experience Management (CEM) – Oracle, Adobe, Salesforce
- Digital Signage – DisplaySign, Mood Media, AOPEN
- Retail Store Automation – Oracle, SAP, Microsoft Dynamics
- Automated Inventory Management – SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics
- Web Development – WordPress, Wix, Shopify
- Business Process Automation (BPA) – UiPath, Blue Prism, Automation Anywhere
- Online Payment Solutions – Stripe, PayPal, Square
- Shipping and Delivery Management – Shipstation, Shippo, Sendle
- Customer Service Management – Zendesk, Freshdesk, Help Scout
- Business Analytics – Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, Google Analytics
- Order Management Systems (OMS) – SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics
- Virtual and Augmented Reality – Unity, Unreal Engine, Vuforia
- Online Advertising – Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, Bing Ads
- Digital Asset Management (DAM) – Widen Collective, Bynder, Adobe Experience Manager
- Customer Data Management – Tealium, Segment, Tealium AudienceStream
- Retail Forecasting and Planning – SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics
Case Study: Large Retailer
Client – A leading global retailer offering clothing, accessories, and personal care products for men, women, and children under multiple brands. Client’s products are available for purchase in more than 90 countries. Client has approximately 135,000 employees and operates 3,000+ stores worldwide, of which 2,000+ are located in the U.S.
Challenge – Client has multiple datacenters across the United States. Client faced high operating costs because of datacenter’s distributed nature. They also faced difficulties in scaling up a distributed team. Their existing resourcing solution was contractually inflexible and meant significant costs and delays whenever there was a change in business requirements.
Our Solution – Setup a lean consolidated team that worked as a single unit covering all the datacenters in scope. We were brought in late and had to be very agile & flexible to scale up the distributed team in a short timeframe. Our team was designed to provide standard services across all datacenters spread across the United States in a cost effective & transparent way.
Results – Short Time to Market (<1 month). ~50% reduction in TCO for the services in scope. Standardized operational process with improved tracking of metrics & SLAs. Effective feedback loop to quickly incorporate changes and lessons learnt. Transparent governance with collaborative performance monitoring and management along with the Client.