JEM Retail Consultants providing services in buying and merchandising, Programme Management, IT services and Logistics & Warehousing.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Why Retail Can Never Be Led By Technology

Speaking at the Retail Week Technology Summit editor-in-chief of Wired UK David Rowan said there are several new trends that retailers must be aware of if they are to thrive in the future: "The business that succeed in retail will be the ones that get rid of the friction. We want to be given simple solutions."

He continued to say that services like extremely simple on-line payments, easy returns and close to immediate delivery will all feature in retail's future.

He added one of the biggest problems for retailers is legacy systems: "If you work for a big established company you probably have to make a long-term commitment to systems you're running and suddenly something big comes along and changes the rules. There is an argument that the big company is not going to survive because they're unable to move fast enough - the Nokia effect."

Now whilst I agree technology which improves the customer experience will set those retailers apart.... retail is about the gratification of buying something new.... something you really desire. Technology helps you get the product quicker, easier etc but successful retail is about the creation of products consumers really want. How they get it is, at best, SECONDARY.

Those retailers who create products we desire and stock them in the size we need, when we want it, will be the winners. Product is the key to a successful retailer and NO amount of slick technology will ever take first place. All this technology stuff is INTERNAL to us as retailers. All the buzz words and jargon mean nothing to the customer. We should be very careful we don't forget what we are doing and why: designing; producing; moving; and selling products people want.

Of course doing this efficiently is important. But NOT as important as ensuring we have size availability of those desirable products our customers want. Not doing this is the road to administration. There is no longer room for "adequate" products. Being out of stock of sizes is unacceptable. The answer to getting this right is the "retail detail" and technology can support us in finding a solution.

Please don't lose sight of what's important and DON'T let your IT Director become more important than your Design Director!

Written by Erica Vilkauls: Director JEM Retail Consultants

No comments:

Post a Comment