In IDC’s 2016 “MarketScape: Worldwide Retail Brand Product Innovation and PLM Vendor Assessment” survey, only 35 percent of retailers reported that they are participating in a B2B marketplace. Of those who don’t, roughly half said they have no plans to make the move to digital sourcing in 2017 for various reasons. Reading that, it’s hard to wrap one’s head around the idea that there are so many retailers who are not ready to take action and embrace the reality of our digital age.
Retail is not easy. In fact, it’s getting harder and harder as consumer expectations — for differentiated products of high quality, sourced responsibly and at an accessible price point — continue to rise. When you consider all there is to be gained from engaging with your design and merchandising teams and suppliers electronically, continuing to do business in the old ways makes me think, “We have met the enemy and she is us.”
Let’s face it: To succeed today, retailers have got to embrace technology that makes it possible for them to collaborate, communicate and co-create with their internal teams and with their communities of suppliers all over the world. To compete, we must be first to market, first to respond to shifts in consumer behavior and first to offer greater assortments of higher quality. Digital platforms and digital sourcing make this – and more – possible.
B2B marketplaces lower costs, streamline the supply chain, help ensure compliance and reduce risk. All worthwhile results. More exciting, though, are the possibilities for:
- Greater creativity and product innovation,
- Faster time to design, and the
- Competitive advantage gained by being on the cutting edge
There’s also much greater opportunity to meet yet another consumer expectation for localized aspects needs. These benefits fuel what retailers need to compete – differentiation, quality and responsiveness to customer preference.
In the digital age, retailers can have what they want. And be able to give customers what they want. Not being afraid of adopting new technology, however, is often the hurdle to overcome.
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