Retailers are operating in turbulent times for the industry and find themselves challenged by disruptive trends including fast fashion and increased globalization, as well as constant shifts in consumer tastes, loyalties, and spending priorities driven by social media and other digital technologies.
And as digitally-savvy consumers come to expect greater convenience, ease, and a compelling product experience driven by quality, retailers must reexamine their business strategies. Of course, product quality has long been a key differentiator for retailers. However, its importance is growing in the digital shopping environment in part because technologies like social media allow customers to expose product quality issues with a transparency and reach that was inconceivable just a few years ago.
In fact, product quality outranked both cost and service for the first time ever in IDC’s 2016 Supply Chain Survey, signaling a profound shift in its strategic importance to retailers. Respondent companies clearly view the supply chain’s ability to help them deliver a quality product experience as critical to the business. The takeaway? Winning at retail today requires a supply chain capable of providing a standout product experience for the customer.
Retailers and their supply chains thus need to be more business focused, agile, and innovative when it comes to the customer experience of product. As we move into 2017, retailers will look to their supply chain to help them:
- Differentiate by improving the product quality/value equation
- Pursue operational efficiencies by implementing built to purpose platforms
- Digitally transform processes from design through order
- Improve sourcing processes and sourcing relationships to satisfy consumer demand
- Co-create and develop with communities of suppliers and customers via collaboration networks and marketplaces
One way to achieve these goals is to participate in a B2B supply network. Benefits of such a move include enhanced collaboration with suppliers and cost efficiencies to speed and new business opportunities.
To learn more about how retailers can succeed in today’s digital business environment, download the IDC Infographic, “Winning at Retail: The Strategic and Tactical Changes Needed,” sponsored by Bamboo Rose.