‘Tech out’ these 2019 retail trends

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‘Tech out’ these 2019 retail trends

Justin Honaman is managing director, digital technology advisory at Accenture.

Customer loyalty is increasingly harder to win and retain. Retail giants like Amazon and Walmart strategically use supply chain to optimize customer experience and provide everything from shopping and entertainment to house cleaning and fast meals, even though it is not always profitable for these companies, forcing other retailers to consider new strategies to winning customer loyalty, according to Retail Info Systems (RIS), a sister property of Store Brands.

And in the world of data and analytics, we have moved into the era of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and what many companies are branding intelligent automation as priorities to leverage data to drive decisions and make processes more efficient. Retailers are evaluating automation use cases to improve business functions from customer service to inventory management and delivery.

2019 is poised to be another eventful year, according to Justin Honaman, managing director, digital technology advisory at Accenture, who cites a few key trends that will be of the utmost importance over the next 12 months.

  1. Cyber security

The world of digital is fundamentally changing the security landscape. The rapid expansion of emerging technologies that enable digital capabilities and provide on-demand services is adding to the security risks that threaten retailers’ businesses. Cloud and mobility adoption means that almost 50 percent of most organizations’ IT landscapes exist outside the control of their chief information officers. Rapid business expansion can mean retail organizations struggle to identify who has responsibility for an individual process when it is threatened. As attack surfaces continue to widen across systems, devices, people, partners and infrastructure, it’s evident that embracing technology as a key driver of growth can amplify opportunities for complex cyber-attacks.

Success in tomorrow’s digital retail business will largely depend on security decisions made today. Crucially, retail business and security leaders are increasingly focused on interlocking security strategy and cyber defense capabilities to strengthen business resilience and brand trust that are so essential in today’s connected retail world.

Retailers must take a 360-degree approach that addresses the spectrum of security issues across people, process and technology. Retailers must establish comprehensive threat protection that takes into account customers, employees, contractors, vendors, applications and systems.

Despite all of the resources invested in traditional information security approaches, many organizations still fall prey to cyber attacks and are unprepared to deal with rapidly blurring enterprise boundaries. With the stakes growing higher ― including potential impacts on shareholder value, revenue and compliance ― security is now a priority agenda item in the retail boardroom and across the c-suite.

  1. A new analytics approach

According to Honaman, while presenting to a packed retail audience in a break-out session in the basement of the Javits Center at the National Retail Federation Conference several years ago, he asked the audience (members) to raise their hands if they had a dedicated data/analytics team within their retail organization ― less than 25 percent of the room raised their hands. The big retailers had the resources ― the smaller retailers didn’t have the budget, systems, focus, or people to make much more than “reporting and analysis” a priority. Even the big retailers were largely doing traditional reporting versus analytics or employing true data-driven business capabilities.

While analytics is no longer “over there in IT,” the model for how to best deploy analytics capabilities, staff analytics resources and build data platforms to support both have evolved. To focus analytics investments in 2019, retailers will look at harmonizing methods of operationalizing data (data capture, management and transformation and business intelligence), employing advanced analytics (customer segmentation, scoring and forecasting, and commercial and operational forecasting and optimization) and create memorable, story-worthy customer experiences (personalization, digital engagement).

  1. Data transparency

As stated in the 2019 Fjord Trends Report, data’s newsworthy appearances throughout 2018 distorted people’s understanding of the value exchange between data owner and data user (retailer). Expectations around how much people’s personal data is worth became falsely inflated, and the mystery surrounding how it’s used became a cause for concern for consumers. Moving forward, organizations must design for transparency, so that consumers can trust that they’re pursuing only the data they need to build new products and services, and that they’re using and storing that data responsibly.

Retailers must set expectations regarding data capture and utilization and operate to those standards. Empower consumers to know how, where and why their data was used in your personalization framework and make clear what they will get in return. Gone are the days when consumers will willingly hand over all their information without clear reason, payback or benefit.

In addition, retailers must ensure that customer data strategy is centered on collecting only what’s needed to drive an experience or level of service. Collection, measurement and utilization to provide products and/or services are linked.

To read Honaman’s full article, click here.



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