Retailers are increasing thinking about “making every moment shoppable”, according the IGD. And that begs the question: can retail supply chains make “every moment fulfillable”?
The idea of making every moment shoppable comes in a series of IGD predictions of trends in retail for 2019.
In particular, it highlights the trend towards “seamless stores” – physical stores will become more digital using technology to make it easier for customers to find items and get more production information. It points out that 85 per cent of shoppers would like to see more in-store technology.
At the same time, it predicts that innovative social commerce solutions will emerge next year that will enable retailers to deliver targeted marketing and news ways to make online shopping more social, instantaneous and convenient.
Toby Pickard of the IGD points to a recent innovation from easyJet that makes it possible for Instagram users to find and book holidays to new destinations, simply by clicking on a photo they have seen.
Inevitably, much of this development is going to be data driven – making use of customer datasets, artificial intelligence and machine learning to enable retailers to target products and offers more effectively. The IGD points out that 46 per cent of supply chain experts are now actively prioritising data-driven business.
This all makes for a significant challenge for supply chains, which must become ever more responsive without allowing inventory levels to skyrocket.
Achieving that will not only put more pressure on retailers’ internal supply chains, but also on the supply chains of their suppliers.
I suspect that only the most forward-thinking retailers will have the necessary systems in place – many will have quite a lot of catching up to do. This all suggests that retail supply chain will be an increasingly demanding place to work in the coming year.