By Elizabeth Doupnik and Arthur Zaczkiewicz
It’s been a tough year for retailers and fashion brands as a fundamental shift in the way consumers shop took hold in 2016 — which was plagued by a distracting U.S. presidential campaign, the Brexit vote and a global economy still stabilizing itself.
Companies are rushing to determine how to adapt to a scenario that is playing out as “evolve or die.” The fallout has ranged from a string of retail bankruptcies to brands cutting back on wholesaling to store closures. Technology has never been more important, resulting in investments in predictive analytics, m-commerce platforms, big data and artificial intelligence.
In this special report, WWD recognizes 10 companies that are helping retailers and brands navigate this difficult landscape, and their key executives in retail and fashion who are leading the charge.
Nick Pompa, General manager at ShopperTrak, a Tyco Retail Solutions business unit
At retail analytics and traffic solutions provider ShopperTrak, Pompa heads efforts to grow the brand globally. In that role, he has seen firsthand — and with data to back it up — immense changes in the market. And at the heart of these changes is technology.
“The retail industry has undergone rapid transformation over the last few years due to the pervasiveness of technology,” he explained. “Shopper behavior, in particular, has radically evolved as consumers are now able to conduct extensive research prior to embarking on shopping trips and endless aisle capabilities further empower customers (and associates) while in the store.
“As a result, shoppers are now experts on products, price and item availability. It places significant pressure on retailers to step up their game across operations, including staffing, training, promotions and inventory.”
Pompa noted that there’s also a greater availability of products in the market via physical stores and through e-commerce sites. And that is putting additional pressure on retailers. To optimize sales, Pompa said retailers need to “leverage data and adapt their operations to be more efficient.”
“And because the technological solutions that enable optimization are readily available (e.g., CRM tools, supply chain management, traffic counting, etc.), there is an enormous opportunity for retailers to evolve,” he added. “Ultimately, brick-and-mortar retailers possess a distinct competitive advantage over online, as the majority of consumers still prefer in-person interactions with associates and products.”
And that requires retailers to “approach their in-store operations in a thoughtful way that effectively meets customer needs and provides an enhanced experience.”
To find out about the other 9 Industry Transformers, please read the full article, accessible at the WWD site.