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Retail shopping experiences are shaped by integrated digital technology

Retailers are investing in technology and IT infrastructure to support future trends in retail to deliver a digital and seamless retail shopping experience.

Overview

Retail will change more in the next five years than it has in the past 50, but not all retailers are prepared. To keep up with the frenetic pace of retail, the business—and the technology to support it—must evolve.

Today’s non-stop customer is online, on the go, in stores and in touch with social networks. This paper, part of Accenture’s series on seamless retailing, suggests four directives for technology transformation. IT leaders must align the role of technology to meet the future needs of the customer; an integral part to the success of the company’s seamless retail strategy:

  1. Bring your system up to speed

  2. Establish an infrastructure that allows you to innovate quicker

  3. Transform your data to deliver a seamless customer experience

  1. Organize to deliver seamless capabilities to the business

Accenture’s seamless journey starts with understanding consumer preferences and ends with helping retailers deliver that seamless experience. The technology retailers implement today is going to play an instrumental role in how they accommodate future demand and expectations. Learn more in our Retail Technology Vision.

Accenture conducted a research study on customer expectations and retailers' ability to deliver on their demands.

Background

Many retailers have doubled their capital expenditures to invest in new capabilities required for providing a seamless experience. Capabilities such as anywhere/anytime fulfillment no matter the device are just the table stakes in retail today.

As the number of technology options grows, so do customer expectations. But as new, disruptive technologies hit the market every day, retailers are hamstrung by legacy systems that don’t accommodate such capabilities.

How can retailers build a technology framework that enables them to meet or exceed the expectations of today’s digital consumer, and be flexible enough for tomorrow’s emerging offerings?

To move toward seamlessness, retailers must ask tough questions about their IT environment.

Key Findings

We have identified four key directives to a seamless technology transformation. These include:

  1. Bring your systems up to speed: No matter where a retailer is in the seamless journey, it is critical to transform the technical spine of the enterprise to make use of legacy systems—while also building a solid foundation for future digital expansion.

  2. Establish an infrastructure that allows you to innovate quicker: Upgrade to a technology infrastructure that supports increased remote connectivity, cloud-based services and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) demands.

  3. Transform your data to deliver a seamless customer experience: Retailers must take advantage of enterprise data platforms, connecting data from across the business to allow retailers to collect, store and act on data seamlessly, efficiently and cost-effectively.

  4. Organize for seamlessness: IT can lead a “one-channel” team that seizes every opportunity to make connections that yield better business outcomes across the enterprise.

Recommendations

There’s no reason to wait for seamless technology. Start today and take these actions over the next 100 days to accelerate your speed to seamless.

  • Create a consolidated roadmap to outline the best short- and long-term ideas supporting the seamless vision. Then prioritize.

  • Evaluate current initiatives against what will drive the most value for the business.

  • Think about timing of next-generation capabilities and don’t invest ahead of the curve.

  • Outline the roles, responsibilities and people that can support your seamless organization.