The retail industry is well known as a high volume, highly competitive, low margin business. A combination of the right products at the right price in the right locations has been the historic business model. The underlying need to effectively deliver these capabilities with ongoing pricing pressure has resulted in a situation where those with the best locations and ability to create the most appropriate cost structures have been the most successful.
The COVID pandemic radically changed retail working practices and the way businesses engage with customers and suppliers, accelerating the adoption of greater levels of automation through the implementation of highly integrated technology. Most business continuity plans now need to be updated to include a greater reliance on automation as a way to mitigate the risk of future widespread health risks to both ensure that there are appropriate tools to support remote working situations, but also as a way to reduce the dependency of the business on humans.
Here are just some of the challenges that face the retail industry right now:
- Changes to staff working practises require support for remote and hybrid working
- Fluctuating seasonal staffing demands need to be managed, to enable the retailer to scale solutions with ease without the burden of overbuying technologies.
- New best-of-breed technologies that speed and improve collaboration must be seamlessly integrated into existing business processes
- Customer experience must be addressed, to meet the evolving needs of customers that expect real-time changes to services, and immediate problem resolution