By Ilana Goddess, Product Marketing Manager

How do you define modern retail? Is it about shopping? Commerce? Omni-channel? Entertainment?

With so many buzzwords in the market, it’s difficult to decide. Our conclusion? Modern retail is about all of these things and, most importantly, it’s all about “her” – your consumer.

So how do you create the best possible experience for “her” and stay competitive in today – and tomorrow’s – retail landscape? By building a strong foundation that allows for continuous optimization of operations and a plan for future growth opportunities.

During a Best Practices Executive Workshop co-hosted by us and Fit for Commerce in LA last month, a group of 25 retail executives identified 4 key areas that can help you achieve this:

  1. An aligned organizational structure: More than 50% of workshop attendees reported their business is not aligned to meet future commerce needs. However, to succeed in modern commerce, you must determine the right organizational structure for your company. A business needs merchants, marketers, operators and technologists working as a team to ensure a consistent delivery of experiences across the channels, devices and geographies that “she” expects.
  1. Leveraging data: 76% of attendees at the workshop perceive data as a strategic imperative to keeping up in today’s retail landscape, as well as meeting “her” expectations. One retailer explained that “we collect more than enough data, but have a hard time accessing it, creating cohesive reports and using it to make decisions.” Clearly getting data isn’t a problem; it’s putting it to use. So it raises the question: should organizations create a “Data Czar” role to ensure they can effectively leverage product, customer and transactional data to deliver an unparalleled consumer shopping experience?
  1. Operating multiple sites for broader reach: More than 65% of workshop attendees claimed they are managing two or more sites (e.g. multiple brands, multiple languages or multiple geographies). This, of course, introduces a slew of new challenges as it relates to empowering geographical business owners, maintaining a consistent brand and retrieving actionable analytics across sites. To ensure you provide “her” with a consistent consumer experience, while still being successful in new site rollouts, identify a repeatable process for standing up new sites, and determine how the sites will be managed (centralized or decentralized), and how merchandising and marketing teams will work across multiple brands.
  1. Mobile is at the center of a true omni-channel strategy: Workshop attendees claimed that mobile drives 30-60% of their website traffic, so it’s no surprise that more than 75% of them stated mobile is one of their top 3 strategic priorities. Consumers shop across multiple devices and don’t care about your technology limitations, operations or what’s behind the scenes. Consumers only care about their experience – that it’s seamless across every device and every channel. Some consumers already expect that they should be able to switch devices while placing an order and view personalized content however they touch your brand. So think about your strategy for enabling new mobile functionality and how you will give “her” what she wants.

We’re experiencing a seismic shift in retail. To succeed, it’s paramount that business leaders are agile, innovative and keep an eye on what’s important: “her” experience.

Here’s some food for thought on ways to help you define modern retail with “her” in mind:

  • What organizational structure makes the most sense for you?
  • How can you make sense of the vast amount of data at your fingertips to deliver a better consumer experience?
  • What does your strategy look like to effectively manage multiple sites?
  • Have you identified a strategy around new mobile functionalities?