The Future of Retail Revolves Around a Digital Core

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To meet growing consumer expectations and remain competitive in retail’s evolving industry, it is essential to establish a strong digital core and leverage the benefits this provides: understanding motives behind consumer purchases, creating personalized shopping experiences, offering innovative delivery services, and more. In the current dynamic digital landscape, the retailers that are redefining their business models, embracing the “new normal,” and putting technology at the heart of their strategies are the ones making positive waves.

A Digital Core Enables Centralized, Actionable Data…

Today, the most successful retailers are actively using technology to centralize data. They are leveraging technology to establish a single source of truth for all their consumer data. This is significant, considering consumers expect retailers to have a comprehensive understanding of their likes and dislikes prior to purchase. In fact, more than 61 percent of consumers value the ability to ask a sales associate for product recommendations.

One retailer that understands this and is employing a dynamic platform to collect data and build comprehensive consumer history is ULTA Beauty. Through ULTA Beauty’s Clienteling app, store associates have access to consumer’s shopping histories and preferences. To ensure consumers are not overwhelmed while browsing the more than 20,000 products ULTA Beauty carries, employees can review items specific to that consumer and provide targeted product recommendations on the spot.

…An Understanding of Purchase Motivations

If a consumer purchases a sports jersey, is it possible to know if they bought it for a particular event or just because they like that team? Yes, it is, and understanding this can help retailers interact appropriately with those consumers in the future. If they purchased solely based on their interest in the team, this insight can inform future offers and campaigns targeted at this consumer. If it was for an event, the retailer can interact with this consumer and others with similar interests throughout the different stages of the event.

Machine learning is the facet of artificial intelligence that enables this kind of interaction. It allows retailers to mine what the consumer has been purchasing, if they have something in their cart, what their propensity is to purchase online or in store and more. With a digital core, retailers can leverage machine learning technology to understand the motivations behind purchases, creating unique experiences for consumers based on this knowledge – all the while increasing conversion rates.

…Innovative Delivery Services

When consumers have the ability to place orders through any channel in real-time, they also expect the order to be fulfilled in (near) real-time. To meet this demand, many retailers are investing in fast-delivery solutions that enhance the consumer experience. In fact, 45 percent of retailers are building direct-to-consumer fulfillment capabilities to ensure near real-time delivery.

Maui Jim, for example, invested in UberRUSH to make purchasing items more convenient, affordable, and reliable for consumers. Through the partnership, the sunglass manufacturer can now ensure door-to-door delivery in one hour or less, elevating consumer satisfaction. Another service that many companies are implementing is click and collect, including curbside delivery. Retailers such as Walmart are focusing on incorporating the benefits of both traditional shopping and e-commerce by offering online purchasing and one-hour curbside delivery at local franchises.

The Future of Retail is Now

To reap the full benefits of each of these examples, a digital core is a must. It’s the way of the future for retail – and the future is now.

To thrive in this era of unprecedented innovation, retailers need to place technology at the epicenter of all business strategies. From the point of ideation to the moment of delivery, it\’s crucial that retailers exceed expectations to heighten the overall consumer experience. The retailers that understand this, and incorporate technology into the heart of their business, are the ones that will find the greatest success.



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