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Transforming the Retail Industry Through Strategic IT

Executive Summary

Thanks to digital leaders like Amazon and Apple, retail customers have become more technologically savvy than ever before. Customers expect seamless, personalized, and enjoyable digital experiences spanning all touch points of the customer journey — and their expectations are rising every day.

Senior management and the line of business now rely on IT to become a strategic partner to help identify and prioritize innovative new services that create new sales channels, increase revenue, increase customer retention and loyalty, and create defensible competitive differentiation — and to implement these services with agility and speed to market.

In short, the challenges for IT organizations in the retail industry have never been greater.

This white paper describes this tectonic shift in the retail industry: the business drivers, current trends, and the challenges for IT organizations. It then describes a new kind of technology platform that is enabling retail organizations to meet these challenges faster, at lower cost, and with fewer resources, helping empower IT to become a strategic partner to the line of business to accelerate digital transformation initiatives and succeed in this new environment.

Key Business Initiatives in Retail

The retail industry is undergoing a digital transformation as organizations strive to remain relevant amidst a rapidly shifting digital landscape. Customers shop in stores with their phones in their hands, comparing prices and reviews to what they’re seeing in real time. And digital natives have become strong consumers as their buying power has increased. All customers expect retailers to know who they are, what they want, when they want it, and deliver an exceptional experience spanning all interactions and channels.

As a result, today’s critical IT initiatives in retail are no longer about just controlling costs and “doing more with less.” IT must now become a strategic partner to the line of business to deliver innovative digital services that increase revenue, meet and exceed customer expectations, and create and extend competitive differentiation, or their competitors will pass them by.

Many retailers and analysts agree that retailers’ highest-priority digital transformation initiatives must include enabling unified retail commerce and creating and leveraging a deep understanding of each individual customer. In doing so, they can be successful in this new and rapidly changing environment.

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