Control When Out-of-Control becomes the Norm

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to pressure the retail landscape, many retailers face the questions of what’s next and where should we go from here? Those questions are humbling when looking at the pandemic’s devastating impact that was forceful enough to dent what we thought was Amazon’s impenetrable armor. 

As we responded to what the crisis meant to our daily lives, we watched leaders like Amazon scramble to recover from the blow to its supply chain that drove our spending to other retailers suddenly in a position to deliver. But make no mistake, Amazon’s stumble was a call to action for retailers who recognized the opportunity to reclaim lost market share from the giant. Amazon’s technology investments enable agility, and insights position them to mount a fast response when faced with challenges. The time was short for retailers to recognize and act. 

Retailers recognizing the importance of control related to tech strategy found better positioning to enable their own insightful, agile response when 2020’s unforeseen pandemic suddenly had circumstances spiraling out of control. Faced with store closures, many retailers had to take a page out of the Amazon playbook to respond fast to customer behavior shifts. For most, this meant a rapid addition or expansion of curbside pickup capabilities. In the climate of unprecedented retail disruption, taking action became the key differentiator in keeping or gaining customers.

A methodical path where control defines next-gen commerce

Being in a position to respond to continuous shifts in customer behaviors isn’t only for Amazon, Kroger, Walmart, and the like. For those ready to shift their focus and align technology strategy to create agility and speed, the opportunity is there if they recognize the need to abandon the legacy status quo. At OneView, we take it as read that retailers know what to do to serve customers. Still, in today’s reality, we see the significant challenges that silos and legacy technology present to effective innovation. But, we also recognize that legacy systems remain an integral part of store estates and it is impractical to contemplate replacing them with a big bang. Therefore, building a system that works effectively with those applications to deliver an iterative next-gen commerce strategy is where the real differentiation lies. 

Looking at the outcomes of those operating in what is arguably the most challenging retail environment in modern history, we see that success hasn’t been determined by those who pre-defined their next-gen commerce strategy before getting it into the field. Instead, those who prioritized agility and iteration to gain the maximum capability to execute in a test and learn environment are finding the clearest path to success. 

Don’t just spend on tech, invest where it matters

When Kroger prioritized control as a key driver in their next-gen store platform selection, they gave their teams the tools and freedom to build and deploy technology solutions that responded to the reality of their business and how customers wanted to interact with the brand. When the pandemic hit, a modern, headless transaction engine in their tech stack meant their teams could focus on executing agile delivery of extended pickup functions at pickup centers, dark stores, and distribution centers. The focus on the range of capability provided by control of the transaction engine versus specific “features” truly defines the power of next-gen commerce. In the current environment, no one can predict with certainty exactly what is next for retail. Being armed with agility, innovation, and control, retailers have the power to take the actions that are most meaningful to their business and customers. In short, they can stop spending on tech and start investing in tech strategy that delivers real and long-term value to the business.

Working with leaders like Kroger, OneView introduced the concept of headless commerce into the store ecosystem to enable retailers to transact, anywhere.

Are you Looking at how you will deliver scalable pickup strategies for the holidays? We’d love to share how we can give you the platform control to achieve that and more.

Go-to-market and thought leadership strategist empowering OneView teams to bring exceptional products to market. She brings significant experience in technology marketing for complex enterprise products including working as a consultant for companies ranging from startups to global entities.

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