NRF’s Retail’s Big Show – is perhaps the biggest convention and EXPO for retailers in the US calendar. It’s a great place to hear about the very latest news and innovation in this fast moving sector. This years’ show was packed with retailers, solution providers, innovators and industry thought leaders.
Here’s a recap of some of the top discussion points.
Change is the norm
According to research conducted by world’s leading retail & brand consultancy Fitch, ‘Gen Z and the future of retail’, Generation Z (generally known as 14-19 year olds) have an attention span of 8 seconds. That’s less than a goldfish. A goldfish! However, that’s increasingly the case with older generations as well. Consumers live in an era where they expect and even need things to change constantly in order to stay excited. They crave new ways to get excited about brands, and retailers have to keep up to stay in the game.
As retailers look to react to this constant need for change, their focus is on creating engaging experiences to grab the attention of consumers. Most of the discussions at Retail’s Big Show revolved around bringing new exciting experiences to stores in order to engage, connect and collaborate with consumers.
This is encouraging as research has shown that retailers with brick and mortar stores who successfully engage with customers in-store, also increase their online sales. It suggests that bricks and mortar still bring something to the retail table despite the growth of e-channels. This brings us to the third discussion point; the complexities of running an omni-channel business.
Omni-channel is still tricky
Retailers are constantly trying to raise their game; they want more products to be available in more spaces through more channels. However, when retailers were asked to raise their hand if they felt they had efficiently optimised their omni-channel processes very few dared to do so.
Research has shown that retailers with brick and mortar stores who successfully engage with customers in-store, also increase their online sales.
There is without a doubt still a long way to go, as an omni-channel business comes with a truck-load of complexity. In a world where availability is key for any retailer, retailers want to give consumers the freedom of buying their products wherever and whenever they feel like at and also be able to collect them from anywhere. However, what is convenient for the consumer most of the time feels like a nightmare for retailers. Consumers expect to be able to collect the products they bought online from any store, almost turning stores into mini-warehouses. This in turn, creates the challenge of space constraints for the stores as they might not originally have been intended to stock such a diverse assortment. At the same time, stores are trying to make their assortments more local to accommodate the particular preferences of that community while still being able to serve online buyers.
Retailers need solutions and supply chain management software that can grow with them, not stop them from growing!
So how do you decide what to stock, where to stock it, and when to stock it? By offering engaging experiences and selling products whenever and wherever, retailers are hoping to grow their businesses. But without efficient supply chain management, however, this kind of growth is bound to eventually hit a wall. Many SCM solutions are not built for the fast growth and evolving market that we’re seeing emerge today. Retailers need solutions and supply chain management software that can grow with them, not stop them from growing!
Is your supply chain optimised for online?
Our ‘Supply Chain Planning in Online Retail’ ebook covers five steps to improve inventory management in your e-commerce operations. Read it to find out more.
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