Given all of this, it can be hard for those who work in retailing to accept that the industry as we know it is living on borrowed time, on the brink of transformation. There is now an urgency with which conventional store-based retailers must now act and the extent of the challenges this change represents in strategic, organizational, and above all, technological terms.
Reshaping Retail sets out the driving causes, current trends and consequences of a transformation in retail triggered by technology. The changes go far beyond making items available for sale on the internet. Starting by briefly setting the historical and business system contexts for retail and describe the role that technology has played in the creation of modern retail it then explains the underlying technological drivers behind the current revolution – radical changes in the capacity of both hardware and software, mobile telecommunications changes and the advances of the Internet.
Ultimately, success will hinge on more than competence; it will come down to a way of thinking. Customer-centricity will need to be valued not just by the store owner, as in the past, but also by all employees in the organization. It will need to become embedded in their daily tasks. The same applies to technology, which must be at the center of the organization and recognized as such by everyone.
With a combination of extensive desk and field research, interviews with leading retailers and technologists, together with the real world experience of practitioners in this area, Reshaping Retail will inspire and help store retailers to make the necessary transformation now to win in the new consumer driven world.
1 A Brief History of Retailing 7
The mercantile era 11
The modern era 13
The digital era 22
2 Technology: The Crucial Retail Enabler 27
How retailers add value 30
Connecting the chain 33
Knowing what you know 39
A succession of evolutions 43
3 Game-Changing Technologies 47
The next era of technology change 57
What it means for consumers 86
4 Consumer Empowerment 91
The consumer decision journey 94
Customer empowerment tools 95
Retailers’ response to consumers’ changing behavior 103
5 Toward a New Retailing Paradigm 113
The changing role of the physical store 116
New contenders 128
The power of information productivity 135
6 The Future of Retail 143
Stand-alone archetypes 146
Building on the stand-alone models 155
7 A Call to Action 165
The way forward 170
Making it happen 181
About the Authors 193