In January I was at the National Retail Federation trade show for their 100th annual convention in New York City. While at the show it struck me that the world of retailing has changed a lot in the past century – not that I’ve been around to witness ALL those changes although sometimes it does feel like it
Cigar boxes gave way to mechanical cash registers to today’s sophisticated point of sale systems. Farm and artisan products delivered by wagons morphed to sophisticated supply chains integrating distribution centers, trucks, ships and aircraft. Most people today associate the word “amazon” with an online retailer rather than a river in South America.
As we look forward to the next 100 years of retailing, the industry is facing a huge transition. Consumers are shopping on the web, on the phone, in the stores and leveraging personal technology to do “My Shopping, My Way” – they’re looking for a truly custom shopping experience. Consumers are interacting with retailers not just through their purchases, but also through social media such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs etc. in real time. They are expecting their online and offline shopping experiences to look and feel the same. They don’t care about channels – they demand a ubiquitous brand experience.
For retailers, these rising expectations have profound impact on their strategies in a number of areas from marketing, to store operations, to real estate, to employee retention, and physical and data security. In this retail blog, we will be exploring the impact of technology in these areas with Cisco and third party experts in a number of settings including industry events and online discussions as we talk about how retailers can address this market transition.