In today’s digital age, you could argue that the retail industry has led the change in how consumers experience their lives. There’s certainly been some hiccups and even causalities along the way, but when you consider that even just 15 years ago, the consumer process of finding and buying products was largely a seasonal, bricks and mortar experience, the dynamic, digital, often boundary-less experience of shopping today is really quite incredible.
Consumers’ expectations in this New Retail Economy are even changing expectations for everything from how they hail a cab to how they find a new job. The world has changed, and on the consumer-side, retail has been on the vanguard of that change.
But today we’ve reached an infliction point as an industry, a time when we must ask if the way in which we create products is able to support the new ways that consumers discover and buy them.
Here’s a clue: it isn’t.
While our industry has been pouring billions of dollars into B2C innovation, very little has changed on the B2B side of our industry. Too often spreadsheets, emails, PowerPoint (not to mention plane tickets, trade shows, and the like) have become the de facto tools retailers, wholesalers, and suppliers rely on to get their jobs done. A decade ago these technologies allowed us to squeeze more productivity out of the way we’ve traditionally done business, but the demands of the industry today mean that we must think beyond productivity, we must consider completely new ways of working.
There’s a growing chasm in our industry between the B2C and B2B sides of the business. Those who can bridge that chasm are going to win: those who ignore it will be left behind.
So what does it mean to bridge the gap between the consumer experience of shopping for products and the B2B experience of creating them? It means that the new way of working will be:
Simply keeping up with the rapid pace of change is a challenge, the solution? Marketplaces. The collective community actions in markets move faster than individuals. Marketplaces provide an environment were ideas can be created, tested, validated, produced, and sold – a single version of truth that unites what once was silo’ed and accelerates what once was laborious.
There’s simply too much information and it’s coming too quickly to be read and understood through traditional text and data-heavy interfaces. Effective workflow today will rely on smart visual cues, imagery, intelligence, and a focus on overall simplicity to help people more quickly assimilate information, make decisions and act in an increasingly complex environment.
Staying connected to consumers and staying on-trend will mean staying in touch with your instincts as a consumer. Successful companies in the New Retail Economy won’t ask their employees to check their humanity at the door in order to do their jobs well – these companies will embrace their employee’s humanity and provide tools that appeal to the way that people want to work.
To effectively cross the chasm between the consumer experience and the B2B experience and compete in the New Retail Economy it’s not just about having the right environment, not just the right tools, and not just the right mindset – it’s about having all of these things working together to “Make Retail. Better.“
And at Bamboo Rose, that’s what we’re all about.