SAG_Twitter_Retail_Ho-Ho-Holiday-Trends_880x440px_Dec17.jpgThere’s no better time to commit to a digital revolution than during retailing prime time: The holiday shopping season.

While many big-box retailers have lost market share to Amazon.com and other e-commerce sellers, leveraging digital technology can ensure they stay competitive during the holiday shopping season.

No industry has been more impacted by digital transformation than retail. In fact, it’s frighteningly easy to identify which retailers have embraced change and which remain mired in technologic antiquity.

Leading companies like Uber and Apple, which have used technology to personalize services and products, have raised the bar for customer expectations; leaving the days of mass marketing to consumers in the past.

According to a study from PwC, niche products, experiences and services exclusively tailored to individual tastes, interests and goals have become the new consumer indulgence. In order to engage, retain and acquire customers, brick-and-mortar retailers must embrace a more modern platform that enables them to innovate and differentiate from today’s advanced competitors.

Five Holiday Retail Trends of 2017

As the busiest shopping season of the year winds down, all retailers should consider five trends as they begin to fully integrate bricks and clicks in this digital age:

  1. Customer-Centric Personalization

Retailers should deploy customer-centric technologies, like RFID-tagged loyalty cards that send personalized rewards and incentives to in-store shoppers. These cards can provide access to internal information, known shopping preferences and social media data to better understand shopper behavior and improve customer service.

  1. Real-Time Pricing

Since shoppers can now quickly compare prices online, “sticker prices” will become obsolete, replaced by real-time electronic shelf pricing to keep up with competitor pricing, optimize inventory and reduce labor costs. Retailers should also implement real-time special offers as an additional incentive to shop in-store.

  1. Revolutionized Stores

By embracing the Internet of Things, retailers will have an opportunity to advance customer service by implementing sensor-oriented devices. This will allow access to detailed and targeted customer centricity, easy visibility into inventories through electronic sensors, and the ability to create smart signs - ultimately delivering an immersive shopping experience.

  1. All-Around Consistency

Customers want friction-free shopping. Adopting a full omni-channel approach by integrating mobile, cloud, analytics and social media into a unified merchandising system allows retailers to ensure a consistent experience online and in-store, resulting in satisfied, loyal customers.

  1. Real-Time Monitoring

By implementing smart sensors that detect activity and provide visibility across a store - paired with streaming data and real-time analytics - retailers will be able to sense, correlate and automate processes from staffing to inventory.

A successful digital transformation will enable retailers to provide a shopping experience that resonates with customers who are used to engaging across a wide variety of platforms, including e-commerce and traditional brick-and-mortar stores. The challenge lies in efficiently undertaking this transformation, given the complex ecosystem of technology that exists within retail organizations.

Innovative retail leaders must orchestrate complex processes across multiple systems while being adaptable enough to enable future changes. Those that make the investments are the ones that will survive and thrive in today’s digital marketplace.

This article also appeared in Total Retail.

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