One of the greatest challenges in the retail industry today is the pace of technological change, and the ways in which new technologies are fundamentally changing how people communicate, research, collaborate with each other, and choose goods and services. This revolution has leveled much of the playing field relative to traditional sources of competitive advantage, and it is redefining what it takes for retailers to win in the marketplace. Retailers must find new ways to be relevant to tech-savvy consumers, to compete with disruptive rivals, and to embrace new operating and partnering models that may be required in order to grow profitably in the future.
IBM has long contended that there are three key mandates or imperatives for success in retail:
- a) Deliver a smarter shopping experience,
- b) Build smarter merchandising and supply networks, and
- c) Drive smarter operations.
We discuss our point of view regarding these imperatives in greater detail in the IBM Retail Solutions Guide.
These three imperatives remain a useful framework for thinking about what it takes to be successful in retail. But the how behind these imperatives is changing dramatically, in great part due to the pace of technological change: how to deliver better experiences to customers; how to offer unique assortments; how to drive efficiency and reliability in the supply chain; and how to maintain consistent and cost-efficient operations across store and back office functions—all of this is in the midst of unprecedented disruption and transformation. This disruptive transformation is what we explore in this guide.
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