Retail Technology Special Magazine 2016

Race for Relevance

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The advent of technology has revolutionized many things, however evolution is an ongoing process for any industry. The retail industry in US is estimated at $5 trillion in 2016, but the US retailers must continue to evolve to succeed in the next decade.
This largely has to do with the purchasing decisions and the way the consumer needs have changed with time. Maslow’s need hierarchy which was first published in 1943 is being revisited by many academicians and I was quite happy when I stumbled upon a recent HBR article on “The Elements of value” which is extending Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
While brick and mortar shops gave way to online selling spaces, even the traditional retail giants are resorting to Omni channel technology platforms to offer an unlimited shopping experience to the customers. Amidst uncertainties over technology shift, a majority of retail CEOs are still positive about the growth prospects of their company. In the changing times, more and more CEOs feel that transparency, integrity, and ethics are of paramount importance to maintain a consistent dialogue with a wider range of stakeholders and customers. Ability to connect with the stake holders is easier said than done. Social media can be an effective tool but this path remains unexplored to a great extent.
Competitive advantage has now become a synonym to customer centricity. It all depends on how well you know your customers and many leading industry players of course is striving hard to build their customer insights. A silo-ed approach to marketing automation is no longer a practical solution. Traditionally retail marketers have spent more time dealing with pricing strategy. Now is a time when the marketers need to re-look at the equation holistically; covering the product, its perceived value, price, insights, emotions and automation. In the coming editions; CIO Story would like to cover some of the marketing aspects with more precision and depth.
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