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Retailers’ digital transformation requires new thinking

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There is good news for retailers who feel the ground shifting under them as they contemplate the stark choice of change or die.

You’re not alone. And not just because practically every retailer has been, at one time or another, faced with the same unenviable reality. You’re not alone because there is a big and burgeoning ecosystem of technology partners — each an expert in some aspect of the digital transformation — that is anxious to help.

Retail technology has developed at an accelerating pace since the dawn of the internet and the answers to merchants’ challenges are becoming more sophisticated by the day.

But even in the good news there is some gloom. Providing a memorable and personalized customer experience has become increasingly vital to success. As a result, technological and business minds have answered the call with a dizzying array of products and services. In fact, there are so many choices that merchants can become paralyzed trying to select the best solution for any given omnichannel challenge. 

Vetting technology can’t be all consuming

Retailers can’t make vetting new technologies a full-time job. After all, they have companies, stores and websites to run. They have customers to understand and serve. 

These are all facts of retail life that Scott Langdoc, SVP and practice lead at consultancy Boston Retail Partners, has grappled with. I talked with him at NRF’s Big Show. In the video below, he shares some of his thoughts about the potential that technology partners provide and how old-school culture is preventing some retailers from taking full advantage of that potential.

Langdoc went on to acknowledge that the sheer number of technology vendors and cutting-edge solutions presents a challenge for those responsible for betting on the right solution. It is sometimes hard to tell one tech offering from the next.

“Our view with retailers is, significant research, significant trial, very defined process,” he said. “And then, of course, test and measure, test and measure, becomes a really important way of determining if a particular technology, in the case of an omnichannel retailer, is going to have the kind of positive effect on consumer experience that you want to have.” 

Contact Mike Cassidy at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter at @mikecassidy.


Mike Cassidy

Mike Cassidy

Mike is the head of storytelling at Signifyd. A former journalist and a retail geek, he covers ecommerce and the way technology is transforming digital commerce. Contact him at [email protected].