Perspective: NRF Showcases Omni-Channel Retail Readiness
Retail's BIG Show 2015, held by the National Retail Federation (NRF) in New York earlier this month, proved IT vendors are now ready to deliver applications and systems that meet omni-channel business needs.
Demand from retailers for IT that can help them tackle the challenges of engaging the customer via multiple touch points, while creating and executing on a single coherent and efficient strategy, is mainstream now. Retailers that sought these solutions at the inception of the concept discovered that they were at the very bleeding edge of implementing omni-channel, but NRF 2015 proved to be a backdrop against which IT vendors showcased their latest industry solutions built for omni-channel.
In our 2009 IDC Worldwide Retail Predictions, IDC Retail Insights introduced the term omni-channel, and in the midst of the financial crisis later that year, we wrote a series of reports that outlined how retailers should reorganize and reprioritize not just to survive but thrive. First, we discussed how — from a consumer's perspective — shopping had changed, dictating a new retail business strategy. By the time we described our experience of the 2010 NRF BIG Show, we had already outlined a new approach to modernize retail systems architecture and business process, with the goal of enabling better service — service that engages consumers and encourages loyalty, while streamlining and reducing overhead by centralizing and leveraging processes and data in a more customer-centric way.
There was a problem, however. Companies that had already come to the same conclusion were not able to find off-the-shelf systems ready to meet the demands of omni-channel retail. Much of the early work was custom and/or fragmented solutions that satisfied narrowly defined omni-channel needs — not really integrated solutions built for the next-generation retailer. For example, many early mobile commerce and store operations systems have already or are currently being upgraded or replaced, with the good news that the business benefits are well worth the investment.Please Note: Extended description available upon request.
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