The following excerpt, from the article Evolving expectations keep retailers innovating, was written by Vicki Cantrell, and published on Retailing Today. Cantrell offers great advice on the need to stay up to speed in the high-paced world of retail. To see a detailed example of how her theory can be applied to same-day shipping, read the full article.
In the 18 months since I joined the National Retail Federation, I’ve been struck repeatedly by how rapidly our industry continues to evolve. As we all know, retail has always changed and adapted — and in just the past 20 years we’ve advanced from then-radical game changer Amazon.com to more recent models like Hointer, which boasts what amounts to online shopping in a store.
There is a distinct theme emerging around all of this evolution. In an increasingly competitive market, it’s no longer just about new technology. Instead, retailers are now looking across the enterprise at all their assets with a keen eye to leveraging the full range of infrastructure, human talent, and, yes, technology, in their arsenal. And it’s not just the sum of those assets that counts — it’s how retailers are using and adapting them to create even greater value.
The urgency behind all of this, of course, is keeping up with the radically changing customer — from how they adopt and use technology to the products and service they expect, with zero regard for our industry’s notions of “channels” or other traditional ways of doing things. The good news: this rapid rate of customer change is pushing us as retailers to deliver products and services so much faster and more creatively than we would otherwise. For any retailer to be truly competitive today, the pressure to continuously reinvent oneself is absolutely vital.
All of this tells me that we’re already in the midst of the next chapter in retailing, and that the next several new chapters likely lie just ahead. Retailing feels distinctly different than it did even just a few months ago.
While none of us has a crystal ball to know exactly what the future holds, the priority is to identify and produce points of view on trends, business models, technologies and strategies that are shaping the role of digital in retail right now. As we move forward in the evolution of digital commerce, my advice is to keep an open mind, watch emerging trends, set aside some budget to adopt and test quickly, and listen closely to your customers — all tenets that have kept our industry in good stead for many years.