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The Evolution of Retail: The Role of Visibility

Why has the retail industry changed so much?

Over recent decades, the retail industry has come a long way from mom and pop shops and department stores to AI-enabled online stores. The most drastic shifts that caused an evolution of retail happened because of the technology boom and changing customer demands. Economic and social forces are reshaping every industry in the world, and retail is not an exception. The industry has to adjust to the new market requirements faster and more efficiently, just to stay in the competition.

The looming point that resulted in the current splash in e-commerce businesses and brick and mortar stores going online was the creation of Amazon. It started in 1995 as an online book store, and is now the largest and the most impactful retailer in the world. In many ways, Amazon is setting the pace for fellow retail businesses, particularly in terms of new technologies that it starts to deploy.

How the need for visibility contributed to the evolution of retail?

The need for complete visibility, in all processes, has driven many operational and technological changes in the retail sector. Firstly, it has changed the way employees operate on the retailer’s side. With the need for visibility to the operational process, new software and technology were implemented to track and monitor not only work performance, but also the operations. Warehouses and consignees also required visibility, so supply chains changed too. Now, you can’t manage stock, inventory, and shipments without the appropriate software that enables supply chain transparency.

For the customers, visibility is as critical as for retailers themselves. Today people want to see and track their orders in real-time. Having order status reports became a must for the customers.

Another important thing that visibility enabled retailers to do is analyze. Access to loads of data makes progress faster and more effective. Retail companies can get insight into how their customers are behaving and what they want. With this knowledge, it’s much easier to map a customer journey and to offer value to your clients.

Now, advanced technology gives retailers even more transparency, data, and power to convert the information into new customers and profit.

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