Reimagining IT for Omnichannel Retailing

This article originally appeared in Chain Store Age.

Retailers need to quickly build world-class IT capabilities for omnichannel retailing — a seamless, integrated shopping experience, whether the customers are in the store or online. The major reason: customer expectations are rising, in part thanks to the strides made by new competitors with business models built on technology, and pure-play retailers like Amazon, which are not encumbered by legacy environments and physical stores.

To stay competitive, leading retail executives must seek IT partners who understand social, mobile, analytics, cloud (sometimes called SMAC) and all the other technologies that can deliver omnichannel in ways that play nicely with legacy environments.

For their part, IT executives need to make significant changes to the way they work, as their insights and capabilities become increasingly vital to success. And the business, to get what it needs in a technology partner, needs to support those changes, with the appropriate investments and with engagement to help set priorities and make decisions. But as they pursue the technology and organizational changes that will assure their omnichannel future, many retailers face three key challenges.

First, there’s the challenge of prioritizing opportunities. One way to discover the most potent opportunities is to trace the customer experience: Where are they dissatisfied, and where could technology investments delight them? Linking technology investments back to these opportunities helps sharpen the focus, eliminating distractions from the latest “next big thing.”

Read more at Chain Store Age.