Digital technology, millennials and gen Z and customer loyalty were three themes that came out of the Bamboo Rose STARS event last week. While conversations focused on what’s happening now in retail, the masterminds in attendance were already thinking ahead to how retailers can thrive in the future.
Disruption comes from within
Our own Sue Welch, CEO of Bamboo Rose, declared that not only is PLM not enough, software is not enough. Retailers need platforms that tie together design, PLM, sourcing, order management and global trade management to keep up with consumer speed. They need the ability to design, build, source and deliver in a seamless way. The idea of changing the way we think as we bring products to market was later echoed in a keynote from Leslie Hand, vice president at IDC. She suggested retailers must figure out how to disrupt themselves instead of trying to compete with Amazon. According to Hand, hyper-micro personalization, next generation merchandise planning, fulfillment and supply chain and commerce all play a role in omnichannel profitability. To achieve that special retail “magic,” Hand suggested retailers strive for a digital technology-led customer focus to converge models and reimagine brands. Instead of being limited by vision and cultural deadlock, she recommended we focus on strategy over tactics.
Bamboo Rose customers spoke about how their consumers drive business, encouraging retailers to strive for progress if not perfection. By focusing on solutions that solve adoption and business challenges, retailers can tap into consumer loyalty and keep customers engaged. Technology from Bamboo Rose helps these retailers achieve visibility and constant communication throughout the product development and delivery process, and the customers in attendance revealed that full business engagement is key for success.
Differentiate with technology
No surprise, Amazon was a point of discussion during the event. Keynote speaker Richard Hastings, strategist at Seaport Global Securities, posited that retailers and consumers don’t just feel the Amazon Effect at a superficial level, but experience it almost at a biological level, with measurable characteristics and predictable outcomes. Only when retailers recognize the “evolutionary” effects Amazon has on individuals – by taking measures such as ingraining free 2-day shipping into the collective consumer psyche – can they find a way to differentiate and stay relevant in the changing retail landscape.
Technology is one way retailers can stay ahead of the pack, including Bamboo Rose innovation lab tools such as virtual reality, 3D and artificial intelligence. Ann Diamante and Kamal Anand from Bamboo Rose spoke about the platform’s capabilities and what these new technologies mean for the future of retail. Steve Riordan, retail practice leader at Kalypso, continued that sentiment by describing the promise of magnitude that technology provides and how retailers can use digital technology to optimize, transform and disrupt the industry. Despite all the evidence that points to the benefits of technology, IDC research shows there is still a gap between how important retailers find technology and their actual success implementing it.
The takeaways from STARS show that the masterminds in retail are eager to adopt new technologies and adapt to the industry’s changes. Instead of fearing the challenge of surviving in the years ahead, the conversations we heard last week demonstrate the progress Bamboo Rose customers are making to thrive in the new retail economy.
Our recent survey of 250 retailers found that digital sourcing technology helps streamline communication and simplify supply chain operations. See the full findings in the report: “Digital Sourcing in the New Retail Economy.”