Brick and mortar retailers should focus on what’s going on at the shelf. While taking a macro view and exceeding projections in the coming year is important, getting into the nitty-gritty details at the shelf will make that possible. Brick and mortar retailers must invest in near real-time awareness of store conditions to identify opportunities to capture lost revenue. They must fully understand how effective their employees are, which displays are malfunctioning or ineffective, and correct out-of-stock situations as quickly as possible.
For years, all retailers have been after “data.” It seemed to be the panacea for the industry. But raw data by itself is not enough. In order to get the most out of data, retailers need to be able to go beyond raw data and turn it into something actionable. Retail technology that helps automate data collection as well as cleanse, normalize, and decipher data are alleys being widely adopted. The next step up the value chain is technology that analyzes the data collected and integrates it into the workflow (for example, presenting a recommended price change for a retailer to act on, or even automating repricing directly to a retailer’s online store). These types of decision support solutions will allow retailers to execute more data-driven strategies and will continue to play an increasingly larger role in 2018 and beyond.
2018 is the year for retail to come into its own. Retailers that embrace every channel where consumers want to shop will be the ones to get ahead. While the concept of omnichannel will be more important than ever, the retail industry has been overly focused on semantics, while smart retailers have used this time to develop the cohesive experience that shoppers want. 2018 will be less about what we call integrated retail strategies and more about the flawless execution.