As customer behavior continues to evolve, retailers are starting to make considerable upgrades to their retail IT. One of the top priorities for retailers is improving their customers’ digital shopping experience by optimizing their website for mobile and ecommerce. And as these new sites start to come online, many are seeing significant positive results.
But what’s truly interesting is not that retailers are updating their websites, it’s what they are doing behind the scenes to make these new digital strategies possible.
More than Just a New Website – New Capabilities Require New Retail IT
Recently, one large U.S. retailer demonstrated what’s possible by taking a strategic approach to their retail technology. Their new website and app are far more responsive for mobile users, and they made considerable improvements to their navigation and user experience to make their online shopping platform easier for customers.
But beyond that, the big advancement was that customers can now choose how their order is fulfilled. The retailer recognized that the time and cost of shipping is still one of the biggest reasons customers don’t shop online.
In response to this challenge, the retailer turned the store into the central hub for their online fulfillment and blended the digital and physical worlds. Programs like buy online and pick up in store, or buy online and deliver from store have made it easier for customers to make a purchase online while also dramatically improving the retailer’s efficiency and speed in getting the product to the customer.
Making these initiatives possible goes far beyond adding a few features to the website. Behind the scenes, the retailer committed $5 billion over three years to put the foundation in place. They introduced new supply chain and customer order management systems to gain an accurate view of inventory across every location, and built a new delivery fulfillment center to further reduce shipping times. They also invested heavily in their vast network of physical locations in order to put the store at the center of their digital shopping experience.
With these investments, the retailer now knows how much inventory they have, where it’s located, and how to best get it to the customer.
Apply the Same Way of Thinking to Your Strategy
You can learn from this type of approach and the success retailers are having at growing their online sales. Before buying new equipment or launching a new, flashier website, there needs to be a commitment to putting the right systems in place that enable the end result.
This retailer identified a potential opportunity in changing customer behavior surrounding mobile and online shopping. They then recognized the key barrier that was holding customers back and developed a holistic strategy to address these challenges. In doing so, they made it easier to make the right decisions and take the necessary steps required to make their vision a reality.
Take a Strategic Approach to Retail IT Investments
More and more, retailers are seeing their investments pay off with an increase in online sales. And customers have proven to be very responsive to programs that tie together the digital and physical worlds.
By taking a strategic approach to retail IT and realizing that everything needs to work together towards a well-defined goal, you can position yourself as a real technology leader in the market. Otherwise, one-off purchases or a lack of clarity could leave you stuck with a bunch of technology that simply can’t do what it’s supposed to.
Learn more about retail IT investments that grow your business, and leave a comment below to share your thoughts. Download the Retail IT and Store Growth: Best Practices That Promote Revenue.