Retail Business Technology Expo 2014 – Our Thoughts
This year, our development team at SCS Solutions were privileged to go to the annual Retail Business Technology Expo held at the Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre, London. Our mission was to go there, be inspired and gain knowledge of how the retail sector is changing.
The exhibition was filled with retail stands of industry leaders, entrepreneurs and visionaries.
Seminars were held throughout the day and we attended a few of them. In a very short summary, what it boils down to is that retail is changing rapidly and we wanted to know, from industry leaders, what we can do to make that change easier through our software development.
The focus or trend at RBTE this year was to provide retailers with a social presence across all marketing channels. The key idea is for retailers to maintain a 50/50 presence across channels. The more ubiquitous and adaptive the retailer is, the more revenue and brand loyalty it will produce.
The balance of power is shifting from retailer to customer. Tech savvy and modern customers are complex and can switch between brands and channels based on the their needs and values, without notice – a phenomenon coined as “Customer Power”. Retailers found that more and more customers are proliferating into e-commerce, social and mobile channels. These are all channels that need representation in order to build a strong single brand.
Tailored customer marketing has come a long way and is an important strategy for customer retention. Industry leaders focus less on mass marketing and more on subjective marketing – where marketing is done based on the needs and motivations of a customer. Advanced CRM and Loyalty systems equip the retailer with all the tools that are needed to incentivise customers to do the things they are already motivated to do. Tailored marketing makes it easier to change a customer’s perception of a brand and modify their behaviour into doing something on impulse.
A lot of buzz have been going around these past years about omni-channel marketing and big-data. We found that it is crucial to implement omni-channel marketing whilst keeping a single view of your customer across all channels, but from a retailer’s perspective, it can be daunting. Large retailers have already closed the loop on big-data, analytics and decision support systems – allowing true predictive retail that monitors everything from procurement to stock levels and all the way back to customer behaviour.
RBTE 2014 was very informative for us and we hope to take what we have learnt and integrate it into our software methodologies. We are continually watching the South African retail space and we hope to be ready when some of these trends start emerging here.