The role of the merchant is undergoing a 360 degree transformation amid evolving customer expectations and innovations in the retail arena. Omni-channel, the integration of various shopping methods, is the new “thing,” and this approach calls for an “interconnected shopping experience,” with greater attention toward the customer experience, according to a McKinsey article.
The modern-day merchant is working diligently to pull off an ever-so-seamless omni-channel experience to the modern-day customer. To do this, merchants must work cross-functionally and connect with third parties for faster, more efficient product delivery, meeting one common goal: customer satisfaction. Furthermore, analytics will be the key driver in successful decision making, but there are hurdles to cross. Merchants must move past outdated technology, old ways of thinking, and redirect their focus toward the future.
McKinsey conducted a survey of more than 30 retailers that proved the lack of efficiency that exists within merchandising companies as a result of low-value-added tasks. McKinsey found that “merchants spent approximately two-thirds of their time gathering data, managing exceptions, “firefighting,” and participating in meetings to syndicate with colleagues and only one-third of their time working on critical strategy and analytics or insights.”
To mitigate this issue, the bulk of a merchant’s job responsibilities will become automated such as product design and development, sourcing, negotiating, supplier management, and more. Moreover, in order to take the omni-channel approach, organizational structures must be enhanced. McKinsey highlights three common types: standalone e-commerce unit, semi-integrated e-commerce with a center of excellence, and fully integrated e-commerce in business.
In addition, there are organizational enablers that are crucial to the success of tomorrow’s merchant. One is digital-talent management, which ensures that quality talent is on board, and the right recruiting approaches are taken to find talent. Another one is digital culture. In this area, risk taking, leadership, vision and values are considered. These are just a few examples of organizational enablers that will lead to successful retail merchandising.
It’s not likely for retailers to see success overnight. However, it’s necessary to start thinking about the transformation sooner rather than later. Customer expectations will only continue to evolve, so retailers need to get into the digital mindset and develop the right approach to meet those expectations. But what if you don’t know where to start?
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We have a team of experts that can aid in the success of retailers with their deep knowledge in customer experience (CX), which relies heavily on three elements: strategy, data, and quality user experiences (UX). We analyze user behavior on the overarching customer journey and find new opportunities for improvement. We also have the technology to implement new UX online, on mobile, and in your traditional brick-and-mortar location.
Our track record includes the successful creation and implementation of digital solutions for multiple retailers. With us as a partner, they are using technology to lead market disruption and drive business value.
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