Achieving the flexibility demanded by modern-day retail

Industry Insight

Responsiveness is valued at every level of the retail industry. Customers like shopping with merchants who are quick to stock the latest and greatest products and replenish inventory when popular items are sold out. Distributors and product makers similarly value business relationships with retailers that can sell product quickly and effectively, as it improves their bottom line. In a competitive retail sector, the inability to be nimble and responsive can be a potential deal breaker for every party involved.

This raises the question, then, of how merchants can achieve this level of flexibility. Clearly, there are no retailers who go into business wanting to be slow and unresponsive. Yet still there are still numerous retail businesses that succumb due to their inability to respond to marketplace changes and poor time-to-market.

Interbrand, a branding consultancy firm, recently reviewed several of the leading retail brands. While each one had its own strengths and weaknesses, there was a single commonality amongst all of them – they realized the importance of time-to-market and responsiveness. This ended up being a key differentiator between these successful retail brands and the rest of the pack.

“For retailers, a fluid and uncertain market is the new normal,” the Interbrand whitepaper explains. “Responsiveness now trumps efficiency. When a brand is responsive to its shoppers’ behaviors and expectations, it adds value to its goods and services. Added value allows a brand to earn more. In a responsive world, scale can be redefined as reach and responsiveness through store count combined with online impressions, mobile transactions and real-life social interactions.”

The technology advantage
Responsiveness stems from a variety of places. There are dozens of reasons for why some retailers fail to be nimble and flexible, while others thrive at it. Problems can stem from strategic, organizational, technical, cultural and even political issues within merchant operations. There is no single strategy that will transform merchants from being unresponsive to nimble.

While there are a number of strategies merchants can use to improve their responsiveness and time-to-market, one of the leading ways is by deploying technology solutions that help organize, monitor and execute retail plans. ECommerce software such as SalesWarp can be utilized to maximize the potential of a variety of platforms and accomplish a number of tasks, from connecting webstores to warehouses to automating data collection processes.

Time-to-market can be greatly improved by implementing the right IT infrastructures that power operational strategies. Deploying process management platforms enables retailers to design, implement and orchestrate successful product plans and shift products from warehouses to consumers in a more effective fashion.

No retailer ever wants to be left in the dust by other stores, and improving time-to-market is one way merchants can make their business more competitive in today’s retail landscape. Time-to-market is about agility and flexibility, and eCommerce software gives merchants the ability to react to the market and make the appropriate business decisions. Although there are a number of ways for retailers to improve time-to-market, technology integration is one of the leaders in that category.

SalesWarp offers merchants that flexibility by being an open source commercial platform that enables companies to better manage all of their retail processes, ranging from order flows to warehouse operations. With a scalable architecture that can grow with eCommerce operations and deployment in as few as eight weeks, merchants can regain the responsiveness they need to compete in the modern retail sector.