Retailers have been beating the omni-channel (OC) drum for years, but in 2017, the baseline got heavier as store closings accelerated, Amazon acquired Whole Foods Market, and subscription services proliferated amid other retail business and technology disruptions. No longer able to deny the refrain of "know your customer, be customer centric, and build a seamless omni-channel foundation that is adaptable," retailers are aligning physical and digital properties with consumer demand for relevant, meaningful experience in their stream of life, above all. Retailers are digitally transforming business, process, and technology underpinnings to radically and continually adapt to consumer buying patterns.
Top 10 Worldwide Retail Industry Predictions:
Prediction 1: By 2019, 50% of Retailers Will Have Adopted a Retail Omni-Channel Commerce Platform; Revenue Gains Increase, with TCO, Inventory Costs, Operational Costs, and Promotional Pressure Reduction, Will Enable up to a 30% Increase in Omni-Channel Profitability.
Prediction 2: By 2019, the Top 30% of Retailers Will Be Actively Engaged in Digital Transformation, Driving Organizational Shifts and Investment Strategies in Foundational Platform Technologies That Are Cloud Based, AI Enabled, and Composable.
Prediction 3: By 2019, 40% of Retailers Will Have Developed a CX Architecture Supported by an AI Layer; Such a Platform Will Enable CX Hyper-Micro Personalization, Providing up to a 30% Conversion Increase and Thus up to 25% Higher Revenue.
Prediction 4: By 2021, Retailers Will Have Embraced Geospatial Data to Drive Greater Efficiency in Omni-Channel Orchestration, Reducing Inventory Carrying Costs by up to 25% Across Distribution Centers and Stores.
Prediction 5: By 2020, More than Half of Consumers Will Expect Perfect Fulfillment Execution as a Top Reason for Loyalty to Retailers; As a Result, Retailers Will Increase Their Budgets for These Technologies by up to 20% to Create a Fully Transparent and User-Friendly Fulfillment Experience.
Prediction 6: By 2021, 10% of Chain Retail Sales Will Be Created and Managed via Voice-Enabled Digital Assistants, Which Will Accelerate the Predominance of Marketplaces for Buying Everyday Goods.
Prediction 7: In the Midst of Rapidly Evolving Cyberthreats and Threat Actors of Increasing Sophistication, 75% of Retailers Will Have Adopted Artificial Intelligence–Based Cyberdefence Technologies by 2020.
Prediction 8: By 2019, 40% of Retailers Will Have Begun Significant Workforce Transformation to Meet Growing Pressure to Deliver a Resonating Omni-Channel Customer Experience by Breaking Down Digital-Physical Engagement Silos.
Prediction 9: By 2020, 20% of Retailers Will Have Redesigned PIM/MDM as AI-Enabled Networks for Competitive Insights That Connect Product Attributes Through Social Semantics to Meaning and Purpose in Customer Contexts, Creating Actionable insights to Unify Merchandising and Marketing.
Prediction 10: Through 2021, Responding to Stakeholders' Experience Expectations, Retailers That Leverage AI, AR, and IoT for Employee and Customer Engagement Will See Customer Satisfaction Scores Rise by up to 20%, Employee Productivity Rise by up to 15%, and Inventory Turns Rise by up to 25%.
Platforms with a digital core play a central role, but well-thought-out DX use cases will enable organizations to focus on executing against their customer experience objectives in stepwise fashion, staying agile, and adjusting on the fly to continue to serve the customer in their stream of life, above all. Attention to consumer need, customer journey patterns, and the ability to maintain customer loyalty by engaging the consumer continually in their context is the key to success.
To register for the on-demand web conference on these 10 predictions or to learn more about any of the IDC FutureScape Web Conferences, please visit https://www.idc.com/events/futurescapes.
You can find full context around these predictions in the newly published document, IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Retail 2018 Predictions (Document # US42404617) on idc.com. Technology leaders and their counterparts in the line-of-business (LOB) operations can use this document to guide their IT strategic planning efforts.