In last year’s ‘Digital disruption‘ whitepaper Deloitte pegged the Australian retail industry with the shortest fuse and second biggest bang. That is, of the 18 industries studied, the Australian retail industry will be disrupted first and with the second-largest impact. Sounds fair to us. By “disrupted” Deloitte means “impacted by digital innovation”. Digital innovation includes things like eCommerce, networks, devices and the capabilities they unleash. There’s no doubt we’re headed for an enormous retail shake-up. With shake-up comes opportunity.
IBM’s recent ‘Reinventing Australian enterprises for the digital economy’ report carries a similar sentiment. Significant gaps will open up between enterprises that proactively transform operations for the digital age and those that continue with business as usual. The important milestones for achieving retail leadership status are transitioning to omni-channel retailing and establishing a “customer-centric” business.
US retailers Nordstrom, Apple and Macy’s are omni-channel leaders across the ditch. We’re on the path to helping some clients make the transition but we’re certainly not there yet. We don’t exactly call it “omni-channel” and “customer-centric” but we’re working towards the same objective of usefulness, everywhere.
While this is the most buzzword-laden post you’ve seen here there’s an important point behind the superlatives. Here’s the point in simple terms: retailers will thrive if they bring their bricks and mortar and digital environments closer together and design the entire experience to be really useful to customers at every stage of the buying journey.
Sounds easy. It’s not. This is a new journey beyond typical marketing, technology and retail initiatives - it’s what brings everything together, seamlessly. The effort’s worth it. Analysing the potential gaps in retail between digital leaders and industry followers to 2025 IBM determined the following. Retailers, it’s time to get moving.