Current Issues

Regular Industry Development Updates, Opinions and Talking Points relating to Manufacturing, the Supply Chain and Logistics.

Beware the Disruptors

07-Nov-2018
Beware the Disruptors
With high street stalwarts dropping like flies, traditional retailers are on the wrong end of a raft of increasingly harsh criticism from both customers and analysts. But in far too many cases it is fear of failure – of making the wrong technology investment or delivering the wrong in-store experience that is at the heart of the problem. Traditional shopping isn’t broken; retailers are simply failing to recognise or deliver the new expectations of today’s consumer.

Craig Summers, UK Managing Director, Manhattan Associates, explains why retailers cannot hope to compete with the disruptors unless they stop playing inept catch up and instead celebrate the value of the in-store interaction with truly empowered store associates able to deliver something far more engaging and valuable than any online experience.

Lost Cause
As long established family favourites vanish from the high street it appears the pure play disruptors have won the hearts and minds of customers and the writing is on the wall for old style retail. But is that really the case?

Pure play retailers are essentially tech companies; they live and breathe technology innovation. In contrast, far too many traditional retailers remain inherently scared of technology. They talk agility and responsiveness, but then spend upwards of two years assessing and deploying a solution.

It is this fear of failure – fear of making the wrong technology investment, of creating the wrong in- store atmosphere – that is destroying the high street. The result is a catch up approach to technology investment that is always years behind the competition. What is the point of attempting to emulate pure play competition – but to do it badly? From price match offers that take 24 hours to confirm to compelling customers to complete time consuming and irrelevant customer surveys during check-out, the high street is littered with examples of ill-considered attempts to copy slick online models in-store. It doesn’t work, especially when the technology deployed is years behind that of the disruptors. It is all wrong and it fundamentally misses the point.

Golden Egg
Online retail has not removed customers’ desire to buy in store or interact with sales assistants; what it has done has been to raise customers’ expectations of that experience. It is incredibly simple: people still want to come in store and be served; they want to interact with an enthusiastic and engaged individual, someone who not only knows the products – and can share experiences – but is also able to locate any item anywhere in the supply chain in real time and get that item to the customer quickly, in any location. They want frictionless returns, a slick journey through click and collect and they want the checkout process to be smooth and quick. But they also want the whole experience to be enjoyable. No one wants to travel into the high street only to receive a bad version of what they can get online at home. They want something different and they want something better.

And that is where high street retailers have a massive advantage over the pure plays – if only they could harness it. Rather than complaining about the pure plays’ low cost infrastructure and lack of real estate overhead, traditional retailers need to stop viewing the high street as the Achilles heel and think of the retail store as the golden egg.

And that means investing in technology that delivers the complete supply chain visibility and mobile point of sale that ensures store associates can be continuously engaged with customers anywhere on the shop floor. It means investing in high quality sales staff. And it means doing it fast. Not over years.

Attempting to ‘become Amazon’ in two years; or replicate the model of the pure play competitor over the next 18 months is never going to work: the competition is too fast, too slick and too tech savvy. Playing catch up will result in the end of the high street. What is required is a willingness to disrupt the disruptors, to leverage the advantage of a tangible personal experience and quickly exploit relevant technology to deliver an outstanding in-store experience.

Stephen Cameron
Business Development Director, SWRnewstar
Primark's move to 100 per cent sustainably sourced cotton should be commended
Marc Corriveau
Account Manager, Loftware
Changes in packaging result in ROI for F&B products
John Perry
Managing Director, SCALA
Why an extension is best for British businesses
David Jinks MILT
Head of Consumer Research, ParcelHero
Booking a courier? No printer required, says ParcelCompare
Graham Parker
CEO, Gravity Supply Chain Solutions
Mitigating The Risks Of Trade Wars And Tariffs
Sam Ireland
International Marketing Manager, Loftware
How Brexit Will Impact Supply Chain Labeling?
Sid Holian
Managing Director, Bis Henderson Consulting
Three critical steps to a hi-tech, agile supply chain
Manu Tyagi
Associate Partner, Retail and Consumer Goods, Infosys Consulting
M&S and Ocado have signed a £750 million deal to take M&S groceries into the home delivery market
Olivier Frère
Serialisaton Expert, Zetes
Understanding the Tobacco Products Directive
Paul Heiden
Senior Vice President of Product Management, Ultimaker
6 overlooked benefits of 3D printing for your supply chain
Dave Locke
EMEA Chief Technology Officer, WWT
Merged pharmaceutical firms seek fast-track route to savings
Johannes Panzer
Head of Industry Strategy for Ecommerce, Descartes
How to make international ecommerce transparent, efficient and cost-effective
Craig Summers
UK Managing Director, Manhattan Associates
Putting the WOW in the checkout experience
Richard Parfect
Fund Manager, Seneca Investment Managers
The cessation of Airbus A380 production
John Perry
Managing Director, SCALA
What next for British business?
Chris Jones
EVP Marketing & Services, Descartes
5 Key Logistics Trends and Technology Implications for 2019
Craig Summers
UK Managing Director, Manhattan Associates
What is the Checkout of the Future?
Andres Richter
CEO, Priority Software
UK Manufacturing: The Productivity Conundrum
Martin Meacock
Director, Product Management, Descartes
Brexit: only 10 weeks to implement if changes are ultimately needed
John Perry
Managing Director, SCALA
What does May's defeat mean for the supply chain?
Martin Meacock
Director, Product Management, Descartes
Get Ready for CDS
Don Brenchley
Director Industry Strategy, LLamasoft EMEA
Don't Let Soft Skills Be Forgotten In Your Supply Chain
Robert Broström
Director Of Service And Support, Handheld Group
Handheld Promotes Robert Broström To Director Of Service And Support
Dan Willmer
Professional Services Leader, MercuryGate
MercuryGate Hires Dan Willmer as New Professional Services Leader
Bob Brown
Manufacturing Industry Specialist, Loftware
Ideal Enterprise Labeling Systems Include Support and Service
Jason Chester
Director of Channel Programs, InfinityQS
2019 will see half of manufacturers invest in data collection technologies
Craig Summers
UK Managing Director, Manhattan Associates
Integrating Man And Machine: A Fresh Approach For Modern Grocery Warehouses
Dustin Maxey
Director of Product Marketing, Ping Identity
Security from the web to the loading bay
David Jinks MILT
Head of Consumer Research, Parcelhero
Parcel Senders Must Face Up to Their Christmas Duties
David Jonker
Vice President, Thought Leadership, SAP
Your Customer, the AI
Kelly Feehan
Service Director, CABA
Workplace wellbeing predictions for 2019
Mike Thornton
Head of Manufacturing, RSM
Brexit uncertainty bites for manufacturers
John Perry
Managing Director, SCALA
Stockpiling decision should not be taken lightly
Tony Dobson
Managing Director, Snapfulfil
Brexit Uncertainty Boosts Sales For Synergy
David Feakins
Founder and CEO, Modus Brands
How has technology transformed the distribution industry?