EnterWorks recently exhibited at NRF 2016 in New York City to showcase our Product Information Management (PIM) and Master Data Management (MDM) solutions. As retailers and vendors flooded into Manhattan shortly before this year’s blizzard of the century, I wondered, when online is the key growth vehicle, what legacy stores and technologies will survive the digital onslaught?
The disruption that new entrants cause in retailing is not a new story. I recall a study called Supermarket Merchandising for the 1990s: A Framework for Competing by the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council that showed how a .5 percent market share loss could cause a profitable grocer to turn unprofitable.
As we reflect on what we saw at NRF 2016, the challenge to retailers to maintain their market share and profitability will depend on the following:
Omnichannel will be Mount Everest
Omnichannel will be a Mount Everest challenge for most retailers due to software platforms that are too slow, too inflexible, and too costly to adapt to digital dynamics. But platforms that can be dynamically adapted to deliver personalized content, promotions, and concierge-like service will outperform in the race to the top.
It’s a demand chain driven world
True, you need excellence in personalized logistics for omnichannel success. But layering in the data foundation for customer insights, enriched product content, user feedback, and customer preference capture will enable your demand chain to win competitive battles across channels.
Omnichannel winners will have “back to basics” mentality
Those who embrace a “back to basics” mentality will win over the omnichannel customer. They will focus on executing perfectly every day, across omnichannel content, customer service, and order management. This is no different than how retailers have always succeeded.
Internet of Things isn’t everything
Internet of Things will be important in hyper-connected retail someday, but most of a retailer’s profit will come from getting faster and more accurate in serving customers. Retailers who master this will prevent loyalty from eroding from traditional formats and create online businesses that can compete standalone with B2C only players.
The store is no longer just for shopping
In-store shopping has evolved into in-store picking in many cases, where order execution becomes a necessity for omnichannel, whether it’s a collaborative play with Jet.com or simply training associates on managing a new realm of responsibility in supporting digital orders.
At the end of the day, it’s the customer that counts
Workforce and incentive management is coming of age as retailers realize that their resistance to shared online/offline business metrics is not sustainable. Retailers must manage store teams for both digital and physical success. Worrying about who gets credit for labor hours is a thing of the past. It’s the customer that counts.
Tackling the “Mount Everest” of omnichannel will require the right tools. As we demonstrated at NRF 2016, EnterWorks can automate the process of orchestrating all content touchpoints, internally and externally. MDM and PIM are the core solutions retailers need to achieve that rich, dynamic experience across the content value chain, bringing to life the omnichannel point of view.