It is no secret that that the rise in digital adoption has forced the convergence of new age technologies. We, as digitally active consumers have openly and eagerly embraced the Internet, telecom, media, and social space; changing the way we communicate, transact and make purchase decisions. We have become impatient
The last few years have been almost brutal to the retail industry, and retail margins are under greater pressure due to increasing costs and the constraints on consumer spending caused by the global recession. Declining margins make it imperative for retail companies to invest in initiatives that can both reduce energy consumption and optimize profits.
Customers have never had it so good. The choice of consumer goods is growing, retail is wooing them with zeal and competition is driving prices down. Retailers and Consumer Goods (CG) companies, unable to keep pace with changing customer behavior are seeking out new digital channels – channels that are helping them go global and expand their reach. They want to tap into new markets and new customers emerging across the world.
There has been a massive spike in supply chain data in recent times and it has become a huge challenge for enterprises to cope with ever-growing volumes of unstructured and structured data. These bits of data are compiled from a number of sources ranging from ERP systems within the enterprise to the supplier’s business, orders and shipment, weblogs for customer shopping patterns logistics, GPS, sensors such as RFID and Electronic On board recorders, mobile devices and social channels among others. Looked at via the traditional tools used to manage supply chain data, we are about to witness spread sheet bedlam.
In the current retail environment of tight margins, complex supply chains and intricate market infrastructure, delivering a good customer experience is more important than ever. It is well known that it is more cost-effective to retain a customer than to acquire a new one, and creating a superior customer experience will help improve loyalty and stickiness leading to long term profitability for the company.
Retailers have almost everything. Products that match their consumer preferences, the right price points, and targeted promotions based on an event calendar, but one thing that may be missing is that the product being on the shelf. This is especially common with Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG). The Out- of- Stock (OOS) situation should not be a last 50 feet challenge. It needs end-to-end inventory management to ensure customers find what they want, when they want and where they want.
To put the data avalanche in perspective, consider this: Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt recently estimated there were “Five exabytes (billion gigabytes) of information created from the dawn of civilization through 2003. That much information is now created every two days and the pace is increasing.” The volume of Information has become so huge that it can now bury entire departments!
Few industries are as dependent as retail on the performance of its employees for every element of success, ranging from store sales to profits to customer satisfaction. In addition, no industry has the challenge of effectively managing a workforce the size of a national army, in a way that delivers optimal value to the brand and meets corporate goals.
A recent study by research firm A T Kearney reported that the retail sector in the emerging markets – particularly the BRIC nations of Brazil, Russia, India, and China -shows no signs of slowing down as a source of growth. In addition, many smaller untapped markets are providing new growth opportunities.
There are few industries that are witnessing as much change as the retail industry today. The new kind of ‘digital’ shopper, the slowing economy and the proliferation of new channels of marketing and communication are challenges that the retail industry must understand and address in order to remain competitive. Fortunately, utilizing analytics on the vast amount of data available is helping retailers make sense of all the madness and adapt to this swiftly changing world.
As retailers increase the private label footprint, Consumer Goods (CG) companies are working hard to get closer to their end-consumers and increase brand recall. This has triggered the trend of consumers and shoppers buying directly from Consumer Goods (CG) companies –largely through online and mobile channels – with the result that control over deliveries has become exceedingly important.
In today's business environment, greed for data is good. Across the world, businesses have begun to stockpile data. They understand that data is their new asset. As a consequence, data from a variety of sources such as sensors and cameras (industrial, medical, public safety), transactions (ATM, credit cards, shopping), online exhaust (website interactions), social interaction, open data (weather, public transport schedules), historic data (demographic profiles, educational records, insurance claims, immigration archives, etc), production and enterprise data (suppliers, employees) are being captured.
Businesses are spreading across the globe. And so are their supply chains. In retail, supply chains are growing more complex and lead times are becoming a matter of serious concern. In an earlier post, I had mentioned the need to improve accuracy and speed of supply chains to address bloated inventory pipelines, respond to changing markets and consumer preferences and reduce supply chain management costs. Reaching these decisions is not rocket science, it is common sense. A recent research by the Aberdeen Group reinforces this, exposing the extent to which supply chain visibility has become a concern. The study indicated that supply chain complexity was the top business pressure (44%)[i] and visibility was a key issue.
While retailers have embarked on their digital journey, much remains to be accomplished to support more meaningful engagement with the consumer. Further, consumers entering the store today are painfully aware of the obvious divide between the physical and digital worlds.
This International Women’s Day, Srini pledges to maintain and foster a gender parity mindset. In this blog, Srini pens down a collection of insights, which cements his opinion that Women are amongst the most powerful change catalysts for better organizational performance.
As the COVID-19 crisis set in, lockdowns set in as well, and businesses started closing. However, some of those businesses just could not stop due to their criticality when it comes to serving the communities they operate in. In fact, the more dire a society’s situation, the more necessary these “always-on” businesses become. Although most people hadn’t given much thought in the past to what makes a business “essential,” it has now become much clearer.
Last month, one of the largest retailers in the US announced two new experiences to help families make memories together. The first promised a free virtual camp that brings summer fun directly to customers’ backyards, and the second was a touring drive-in movie theatre that will transform their store parking lots into outdoor cinemas. Essentially, retailers are trying to reimagine large empty spaces for shoppers.
More than the Swiss town experience of Davos, with its beautiful promenade and picturesque snowscape, what I find most charming about the World Economic Forum (WEF) is the opportunity it presents to mingle with impressive people from fields completely outside my own.