Digitization and Retailing

Digitization and Retailing

Retail has gone digital!

In the FIRST ever academic NRF symposium in NYC, academics, industry researchers, and industry leaders mingle at the Conrad (right next to where Twin Towers used to be) and discuss about the future of retailing and how universities are not preparing students with the right skill sets to work in the digital retailing environment!

Keynote speakers from Saks, Nordstrom, Home Depot, HSN, among others talk about customer experiences in the digital age! Their views confirm my research findings on multi-channel consumers around the world and found that consumers are IN CONTROL not retailers  (Is there a global multichannel consumer?", International Marketing Review , Vol. 32 Iss: 3/4 ).

The evolution of retailing demands adaptive selling skills entirely different than that of traditional retail environment, echoing my recent published viewpoint ( Tech Guest Viewpoint: Adaption Critical to Retailers in Digital Age

http://www.chainstoreage.com/article/tech-guest-viewpoint-adaption-critical-retailers-digital-age) about how adaptive sales training needs a make-over preparing salespersons to first gauging customers' knowledge prior to engaging in "selling" to a well-informed customer.


My research further found that in digital retailing environment (even in store) salespeople have to adapt their sales skills interactively or non-interactively according to the knowledge of omni-channel consumers (Journal of Retailing and Consumer Service, forthcoming, accepted article available upon request)!


At the NRF conference, a lot of discussion focuses on how to harness big data. Apart from data scientists skill set, the “management” or “communications” skills are needed in understanding what data is needed in order to understand the omni-channel digitally empowered customers.  Finding talent to "communicate" and "manage" in this environment seems to the biggest headache for retailers! One possible solution is for UoPX to offer certificate courses addressing omni-channel customer experiences.