GOC Retail announced today that they have partnered with Sitoo, a world-leading cloud-native POS and…
When uncertainty is the main certainty
Posted on by cassie
After meeting with dozens of retailers in Melbourne, Australia, at a recent knowledge event, it couldn’t be clearer that the mood of the retail sector has changed.
The source of this uncertainty seems to be down to two main factors – the flight of consumers away from online after the pandemic, and the financial pressures on economies and consumers caused by a deluge of global events.
The shift away from online
“The death of the store” in recent years as people flocked to online shopping, has been greatly exaggerated and the pendulum has swung again. People are craving physical experiences, and e-Commerce pure players in particular are struggling. As one online CEO said in a very frank assessment of the situation, “We got into a bubble, and convinced ourselves that eCommerce was the only future of retail, and invested hard in inventory with that view in mind”. When online purchases went off a cliff, his company survived only by taking their medicine early and reducing inventory to operate a much leaner fulfilment model.
Wallets staying shut for now
Even though shoppers are turning away from online to some extent, they aren’t flashing their wallets at most stores just yet. Economic conditions are tough – in spite of record employment rates in Australia, employers are not responding with wage increases. Mortgage interest rates are on the rise – impacting those traditional big spenders, Gen Z’s and Millennials, for the first time who are fearful about further rate rises. Other global events have impacted supply chains and day-to-day consumer items are more costly.
Shortage of talent
In Australia, a country whose growth is reliant on immigration, having borders closed for two years had a massive impact on the number of people looking for work, especially in the casual work force that retail relies on. Most people who want a job, have a job. Combine that with the trend of flexible hybrid working options giving employees other alternatives.
In short, retailers are left fighting hard for every customer, every purchase and every employee.
How technology can help you through.
At GOC Retail, we have a unique umbrella view of the pressures on retailers, and we will be the first to admit that it’s not simple. Whilst we clearly have a vested interested in the benefits of technology, we think it’s more important than ever that your retail technology solutions enable flexibility, give you up-to-the-minute, accurate visibility into all your data, and improve customer experiences. Effective omnichannel solutions that unify your commerce landscape are critical.
Flexibility is paramount
In times of uncertainty, this almost goes without saying. Set yourself up so that adapt quickly with the right cloud solutions that can be easily rolled out, and that deliver you the value you need when you need it – whether it’s putting product information at the finger tips of your in-store talent, utilising retail media in store, or harnessing AI to deliver hyper-personalised customer journeys.
Quality integration means visibility and options
With the bourgeoning array of systems and apps in the retail technology eco-system, you also need to pay close attention to integration. Cloud solutions will make this vastly easier, as will having smart integration solutions that mean that your team can focus on your core business, and extracting maximum value from your technology investments.
Get back to fundamentals
As our Head of Retail, Gavin Fielding, recites “It’s all about Retail 101- people, place and product. You need to be delivering exceptional customer experiences, you need to have the right product offering, manage your inventory intelligently, and understand and control where it is at all times. You also need great in-store talent. Attracting and retaining this talent means having workplaces that easily support and enable them, and that are easy to work at”. This does not mean going old-school with your technology. In fact for retailers with mulitple stores and significant online presence, this can only be achieved through smart modern technology that is seamlessly connected across your entire landscape.
It’s not an easy time for any retailer, so survival will really come down to who does it best. This means making cost-effective technology choices that will give you the competitive edge and allow you not only to be resiliant, but also thrive and grow through uncertain times.
If you would like to talk more about how technology can help you thrive through uncertainty – contact us
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