It’s shopping Jim, but not as we know it!

This article reproduced from a paper by David Concordel, Senior Vice President Global Retail, Fujitsu.

David Concordel

David Concordel, Senior Vice President Global Retail, Fujitsu

Customer, shop, merchandise, transaction – that’s all there is to it. Shopping – in simple terms – has changed little in two thousand years. However, on closer inspection, the shopping ‘process’ is undergoing a fundamental transformation for customers, retailers and their suppliers. Says Fujitsu’s David Concordel, in the new omni-channel world of shopping – where customers can buy online or via a smart phone and pick up their order in store or have it delivered – retailers will be re-engineering their shopping process in 2014 and beyond to drive future revenues and ensure their business continuity.

“In 2014, fast-followers will chase the 50 global retailers already transforming store, mobile, and ecommerce channels, supply chains, merchandizing, and marketing for the omni-channel customer experience.” This is the #1 prediction made in December 2013 for the global retail sector this year from IDC Retail Insights. It also has the most immediate and arguably the highest impact of IDC’s 10 predictions, in terms of the cost and complexity involved in addressing the issue across every retailer’s entire business.

Analysts are inventing new labels every day – multi-channel, omni-channel, ‘stop-start’ shopping and clienteling – to try to describe what is happening in few words. Fujitsu sees it from the customer’s point of view. There is only one shopping channel – ‘my channel’ – and retailers need to operate their businesses in response to how every customer chooses to shop with them. The store no longer has walls, shopping is ‘everywhere.’ Retailers need to rethink how they set up shop.

New customer-centric operating models, underpinned by new IT architectures, data models and business processes, need to evolve in response to the changes we are experiencing today. Bolting on click ‘n’ collect services to a store model, manually sharing stock across physical and virtual stores, responding to shopper behavior overnight rather than real time – these are no longer viable. A fundamentally new approach is required that will help the ‘fast-followers’ to catch up with the best of the rest.

Customers want ‘old world’ service in a ‘new world’ environment

Technology is driving change not because it appeals to the latent ‘geek’ mentality among the world’s shoppers. This isn’t a Big Bang Theory retailing trend. Technology – primarily the smart phone – is driving change because it is helping customers rediscover a more intimate, personalized and ‘in control’ shopping experience. Revolution is about returning to a bygone age. Customers want the one-on-one personal service, reminiscent of the ‘mom ‘n’ pop’ shops of 50s America, but they want it re-presented and re-delivered for a modern technological age. This may or may not involve human intervention. Continue reading