The top challenge that retailers face right now is keeping up with customers’ demands.
With increasing choices and unlimited access to information and products, today’s shoppers are more empowered than ever. This kind of control leads to higher expectations. Price-centered promotions are no longer enough to entice people to buy, consumers now require unique, engaging and personalized experiences.
Although most retailers place a high importance on finding innovative ways to keep up with shoppers’ behaviors, many retailers lack the ability to satisfy them due to these inhibiting factors:
- They depend on a manual system of paper and spreadsheets, which is error prone, wasteful and costly.
- Internal departments work in silos, and keep their data within those silos, creating discrepancies.
- There is little to no communication between headquarters and stores, which leads to imprecise execution.
- Merchandising is inconsistent and irrelevant at the individual store level, causing low customer satisfaction.
- Execution is difficult to measure, and trends and behaviors are impossible to forecast, hurting store performance and customer experience.
In order for retailers to differentiate themselves, gain customer loyalty, and become winners within the industry, they must reevaluate their current strategies. In an ever-changing industry where customers’ expectations are continuously evolving, it makes sense for retailers to adopt a cloud-based delivery system that can help them optimize their process, understand and respond to customer demands, and ultimately gain a competitive edge.
According to the findings from the recent RSR report, Merchandising 2016: Big Changes Coming, most retailers are placing a high importance on better understanding the consumer demand. And, “a significant percentage of retailers are contemplating a refresh of core merchandising systems.“ In fact, nearly 40% of companies surveyed by RSR expressed the need “to seek more innovative delivery models like Software as a Service, Cloud & Agile.”
So, why move to a cloud-based delivery model?
It improves the organizational structure
The cloud allows for data sharing across all departments, therefore providing transparency. All departments can connect, access information, plan, execute and track merchandising campaigns through one single application. The cloud also opens communication between necessary parties, including stores. So, store teams have a direct line to headquarters and can report back on compliance, weigh in on issues, or share specific store-related knowledge. The cloud can even integrate third party vendors, to make ordering, shipping, and production more efficient.
It increases the ability to localize
Keeping an accurate model of every store allows retailers to give each store precisely what they need. Knowing the unique attributes of each store, including customer demographics and local culture, means keeping the most relevant product mix, displaying merchandising setups that resonate, and delivering a personalized shopping experience for customers in that specific market.
It lowers costs and reduces waste
A digital process eliminates the need for cumbersome binders, excessive printing, and paper waste, while precise execution results in fewer unused materials and reduced production and shipment costs. Also with a cloud-based system, there is no longer any need for server maintenance or new equipment spending.
It makes it easy to respond
Unlike paper systems, cloud technology adapts quickly. A cloud system enables retailers to respond to market changes or customer demands immediately. Retailers can access data, analytics and solutions quickly. If an issue occurs, retailers can resolve it simply and with urgency.
It helps track and measure retail experience
Finally, it helps retailers understand the customer and provides visibility into shopping behaviors. Campaign execution, compliance, and performance can be measured in real-time right down to the display, fixture, or even peg. This data can help guide future merchandising decisions for a better shopping experience, stronger customer loyalty, and a competitive advantage.
In summary, smart, connected shoppers are creating a retail shift. It is imperative for retailers to adopt new technologies to stay flexible and adapt to current and future change. A cloud delivery system allows retailers to keep up with fluctuating shopping trends. Merchandising Cloud has helped many of the world’s leading retailers optimize execution, localize merchandising, measure performance, deliver a superior retail experience and increase customer satisfaction.
There is no time to waste in this fast-moving industry. Find out more about adopting a cloud-based system.