Is it about IT? Never Ever
Which are the top retail technology trends to watch out for
Meeting the Changing Needs of Customers
Using Data to Delight Customers
Managing a Major System Change to Reap Organizational and Business...
Christopher Dowler, CIO, IAT Insurance Group
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A Sneak Peak into the Future of Retail Landscape
By Saqib .E. Awan, VP, Lightspeed Venture Partners
This is no easy time for brick and mortar retailers as e-commerce continues to attract consumers. At the same time, despite the doomsayers predictions, I think brick and mortar retail is not going away. However, only the retailers who embrace the digital channels quickly to meet customers’ expectations will be the ones who stay relevant. For instance, the acquisition of Flipkart by Walmart is a step in the right direction in WalMart’s continued push towards digitizing and providing customers a unified, omnichannel experience. On the other side, Amazon acquired Whole Foods to have physical presence in communities where their customers are. We can see then that the retailers—be it e-retailers or physical stores—are pushing hard to expand their presence both online and offline to provide customers with an omnichannel experience.
Retailers have to be able to give a unified experience to their customers such as engaging with them through web or mobile while offering seamless shopping experience in-store. So how do you do that? Technologies such as AI, AR/VR, and networking technologies can help retailers to improve customer experience and boost their revenue. The physical stores should provide personalized experiences to customers that are walking in by engaging with them in real-time using the latest innovations in beacon, BLE, and similar technologies.
What are some of the significant challenges in the retail landscape?
Technology continues to transform every aspect of how we live, work, and play. Accordingly, consumer behavior is changing rapidly. One of the biggest challenges that the retailers are facing today is keeping up with changing markets, customer preferences, and emerging technologies.
If you’re an IT executive in retail, technology adoption is a double-edged sword for you: on one hand, you need to rapidly adopt new technologies but on the other hand you need to mitigate risks and reduce costs rapidly – there is very little margin for error If you’re an IT executive in retail, technology adoption is a double-edged sword for you: on one hand, you need to rapidly adopt new technologies but on the other hand you need to mitigate risks and reduce costs rapidly – there is very little margin for error
It's challenging to be innovative and forward-thinking behind a desk, so you have to get out and meet people: startups, VCs, channel partners, customers, etc. However, that is easier said than done and many IT executives don’t know how to sift through the noise to get to the most promising startups. My advice is to identify top-tier enterprise technology VCs, look at their track record, and then build relationships with them so they can expose you to their investments and key trends emerging from Silicon Valley. This is one of the best ways to balance taking risks with new technologies with giving yourself a chance of finding transformative startups that also have a higher-than-average chance of survival and getting an edge over your competitors: Just imagine the advantage you would have had over your competitors if you were an early adopter for technologies like Nuatnix, Mulesoft, AppDynamics or Zscaler (all of which are Lightspeed startups).For this reason, at Lightspeed Ventures, we've created a CIO Innovation Advisory Network. Through this, we collaborate with forward-thinking IT leaders and CIOs on a regular basis and expose them to new technologies, emerging trends, and subject matter experts to help them solve their IT challenges and be more innovative.
How do you expect the role of a CIO in retail industry to grow in the upcoming years?
Businesses are on a constant journey of digital transformation. Retailers who want to stay relevant tomorrow will have no choice but to embrace new, emerging technologies. From that perspective, the role of the CIO becomes much more critical to providing personalized and omnichannel experience to customers. The retailers who stay relevant tomorrow will have CIOs who are thought leaders in both emerging technology adoption and overall business strategy.