August 07, 2017 | JAN BLOTENBURG
Retailers and consumer brands are dealing with many disruptive changes in their markets. New start-ups are forcing the industry to rethink traditional business models, accept lower margins and invest in new technologies to stay engaged with consumers. A quick glance at retail tech innovators highlights the ways in which new innovations are revolutionizing the way consumers shop: cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) in the form of a recommendation engine for fashion consumers; gamification via mobile campaigns supported by NFC, QR codes and beacon technology; last-mile delivery options through the use of self-guided drones.
To me, it is crystal clear: Brick-and-mortar retail isn’t dead, and it’s nowhere near an apocalypse. On the contrary, retail is undergoing a disruptive transformation in order to evolve into something new – something that is, in some ways, beyond what we can yet conceptualize. The game is on, and retailers have to play along, whether they like it or not.
The Consumer is the Channel
Technological innovations have gone hand-in-hand with evolving consumer expectations for engagement, convenience and service. As the retail industry reimagines the customer journey, everything is being reshaped and tailored towards optimizing the individual consumer’s experience across all channels. One could say that the only remaining channel is the consumer itself: the consumer is the channel.
Retailers must design consumer-centric experiences, making sure all channels and touchpoints are directed towards the consumer, and making sure each touchpoint is ready to seamlessly support the consumer where he or she left off their purchasing journey.
Complete omnichannel enablement requires clever software solutions that recognize repeat consumers and predict their needs, retain consumers and deepen relationships with their brand through smart loyalty programs.
The technology is available: Be it in-store, online, mobile, at the shelf or even on the pavement in front of the store – consumer data can be collected virtually anywhere, then combined and analyzed to make smarter business decisions and offer consumers a more personalized experience.
Data-Driven Consumer Experiences
Being able to deliver superb consumer experiences is today’s main differentiator in retail. These experiences are powered by consumer data – and the businesses that succeed will be those that prioritize the ability to know their consumer and anticipate his or her needs. The crux lies in the availability of the right data at the right place and right time.
We designed TP Retail Services to meet these emerging needs. Our software streamlines the data flowing through consumer-facing touchpoints (including home-grown and third-party solutions) and connects it in real time with retailers’ back-office systems. The open API architecture ensures the process is simple and seamless – and the results can be pretty astounding: Data about your consumers is integrated with data about your products, prices, stock levels, sales trends, past transactions and so on.
It realizes the seamless integration of your entire data infrastructure with the data infrastructures from your partner ecosystem, social media and more.
Time to Take Action
Today, the consumer is the channel. Consumers’ expectations about convenience and service are forcing retailers to rethink their business models in-store as well as online. The key lies in having the right data available at the right place and time to provide tailor-made experiences and optimize service levels across the entire consumer journey.
Retailers have to connect all consumer-facing touchpoints with the back-office systems in an open, extensible way to ensure seamless data exchanges between systems and touchpoints used in each journey. Our response to these challenges is TP Retail Services, which enables retailers to turn their Connected Commerce vision into a tangible reality. There’s only question that remains: what will your response be?