Retail Over the past few years, it has undergone huge changes. It is still under pressure from external forces and changes in buyer behavior. As shoppers change the way they shop and why they shop, retailers must ensure their brand purpose aligns with customers and improves their internal operations. At the recent IDC Retail Summit, IDC analysts and industry leaders gathered to discuss how retailers can operate in a purpose-driven world.
The need to bridge the gap between the online and offline retail experience
The pandemic has led to many changes in retail, and now that offline is starting to expand again, retailers must bridge the gap between expectations from the online experience.
Customers are accustomed to a certain experience online, and this can create a disconnect between their online experience and their brick-and-mortar store experience. Technology is helping to bridge this gap, bringing aspects of the online experience such as personalization, rewards and speed to the offline experience.
A big part of bridging this gap is personality management. Identity management is not only about security. As the digital shopping experience evolves, retailers can collect more data on shopper behavior. Customers and the way they shop are changing rapidly. Understanding who your customers are and how they buy is critical to ensuring your company can adapt to the changing buyer.
Digital transformation must be practical
Digital transformation is central to the evolution of retailers and is key to bridging the gap between offline and online experiences and communicating and demonstrating brand purpose. But with all the changes, it should be effective. The technology implemented must be easy to use and use for employees and customers. Incremental changes that bring a lot of ongoing value are ideal.
Technology can be a bridge between stores, headquarters and employees. Implementing technology as part of digital transformation can help break down silos in retail organizations and foster innovation and collaboration by streamlining processes. It can provide information to the teams in the stores and connect them to the wider team. It can provide headquarters with real-time store data and ensure that teams across all parts of the retailer work together effectively and efficiently. Collaboration and communication are essential. When introducing new programs, technology or functionality, be able to explain why it is important to the organization. Retailers’ key people and employees need to understand the business priorities, but also feel that changes are in place to help them achieve their goals and brand purpose.
Brand purpose affects everything from purchasing decisions to employee productivity
Target is becoming increasingly important to brands, but especially those in the retail sector. Customers have become more conscious of the social, ethical and environmental impact of the products they purchase, and purpose is now part of many customers’ purchasing decisions.
Customers expect a brand or company experience not just from the retailer itself, but from the entire supply chain. While some of these expectations may be unrealistic, retailers should ensure that their brand’s purpose is as much a part of their messaging as product information.
Brand purpose is also important for employees. A clear brand purpose aligned with the products sold is effective in both recruiting and building a strong company culture. A strong company culture impacts productivity and improves customer experience. A company purpose that reflects the core values of your employees and products is critical now.
The goal is to communicate the value of retail optimization. It defines the what, why and how of a retail business and is one of the most influential connectors for retail processes and a powerful enabler of operational and process optimization.
Retailers are operating in a changing environment. Targeting is the key to ensuring they align with their customers. It also facilitates the pursuit of an aligned and connected organization that delivers internal coordination and value. It improves performance and creates value. For this reason, of all the topics discussed at the IDC 2022 Retail Summit, purpose stood out.
Watch the IDC 2022 Retail Summit for more information here on demand. For more information and key takeaways from the IDC Retail Insights analyst summit, see Retail operations in a purpose-driven world: key insights from the IDC European Retail Executive Digital Summit 2022.
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