Your cutting edge may be someone else’s everyday tech

How many retailers do you know who are happily progressing on their change journey, but you strongly suspect they’ll never make it, or will get there just too late?

What is cutting edge in retail today?

Take customer insight. We’ve been persuaded that retailers just need to know a bit more about their customers and to act on that insight. True, but how much data and how much insight is enough, now that the stakes are higher than ever? There is now a view that the warehouse may be the store of the future or that tech is now more important than location in determining retail success.

Dealing with data

Or consider that passive customer data is of little value if your competitors have location and status data as well. They are then marketing based on live insight rather than the static data that feeds campaigns that can take days or weeks to plan.

While some retailers struggle to create a data lake and integrate input from multiple sources, others have already done it; and in the cloud, so that the insights are infinitely shareable. And some retailers do run responsive supply chain that can flex to demand through multiple channels.

The blame game

So, while people like me lambast retailers for not adopting good tech faster, plenty of them are already, which creates a big problem for the laggards, because so much is against them getting where the need to go – culture, money, structure, legacy and a warped view of the market – all contribute to inertia and sluggishness.

In this context, blaming the weather, Brexit, rent and rates, and workplace regulation doesn’t really cut it. Playing the victim may keep the shareholders at bay for a while, but customers couldn’t care less. They are already voting with their hearts, hands and voices, and retailers need to find better ways to tune in.



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