Accelerated Change

Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data Analytics are reshaping retail at an unprecedented rate, providing a customer experience and level of personalisation unthinkable even just a few years ago.

This digital transformation of retail, known as Retail 4.0, is becoming applicable to every facet of the industry, from the sourcing of raw materials, the provenance of our food to the management of the store front and on-line presence.

As the global industry becomes ever more integrated, IBM and its partners are also making it smarter. This has created a global ecosystem of innovators, solution partners and platform service providers, working together to meet the demands of consumers worldwide.

With an increasing range of software and cloud technology, including Watson AI, available as embedded offerings to this growing ecosystem, the Retail industry is set for unprecedented change.

Engaging with Retail 4.0: The Tech Data Retail Ecosystem

As online retail continues year-on-year growth, the potential cost of engaging with it incorrectly, or simply missing out altogether, is too great a risk for any business.

Understand what retailers can do to avoid mistakes in their online retail space, what the personalised future of online retail looks like, and how Tech Data can help you and your customers achieve it by viewing the infographic.

IBM delivers insight at source

Where does your food come from?
Many of us take the food we eat for granted, and we expect a safe, constant food supply, packed with choice and fresh ingredients. Yet how can we be sure that food sourced from across the globe meets our safety standards, and is certified to the levels we want, each and every time we take a bite?

IBM Food Trust uses blockchain to encrypt and store the data of every supply chain module produced. In doing so, it creates historical records of unparalleled detail and accuracy. It guarantees the safety and provenance of food, from producers, to wholesalers and resellers, all the way through to consumers’ plates.

IBM with its partners are reinventing the supply chain.

77% of retailers and brands have started using predictive analytics, yet still experience high discount or out-of-stock rates. This is wasteful, costly, and ultimately, unsustainable for all but the very largest retailers.

In order to optimise operations, retailers of every shape and size need supply chains that are visible, trustworthy, and reliable in order to meet their deliverable commitments on time and without waste.

IBM takes the supply chain further, by infusing blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI) into their portfolio of supply chain solutions at every step.

The IBM Sterling Supply Chain provides intelligent, self-optimising supply chains that deliver the real-time insights and actions that eliminate delays, securely track high value goods across their entire journey, and instil the trust that builds deep, long-lasting customer relationships.

Available within an Embedded Solutions Agreement or as part of the recently announced IBM Cloud Pak, innovative partners and platform providers can offer new solutions incorporating IBM Stirling technology.

Rethinking the role of the store

Storefronts need no longer be thought of simply as the final point of interaction between a retailer and their clientele. Instead, with IBM and Retail 4.0, retailers are able to rethink their physical retail space as a primary source of live data on consumer habits, tastes, and opportunities. In doing so, they’ll achieve an unmatched, dynamic consumer experience.

94% of retailers say demand forecasting is important to success
However, it’s no longer enough to simply forecast for retail spaces by the country served, or even the city, as every store exists in a very specific, unique location. So IBM MetroPulse makes data analytics and forecasting hyper-local.

Accurately predict demand for individual stores on any given day, based on census data, nearby points of interest, and even on the weather at a specific locale. Combined with IoT innovations from partners, including cameras that anonymise customers while identifying high footfall areas and dead retail space, IBM removes inefficiencies for the retailer, and ensures the customer gets a truly personalised environment.

Go beyond the generic retail experience, get insight from everything, and curate bespoke data sets that turn the global, hyper-local.

Targeted consumer touchpoints

Historically, the only businesses able to know their customers personally were those who met and spoke with them on a first name basis: the local bank manager, the village butcher, the hairdresser.

Now, however, with the advent of Retail 4.0, IBM are integrating enterprise data with personalised customer insights. IBM technology delivers the quantity, and most importantly, quality of data that enables even the largest retailers to focus on each and every individual they serve, rather than group sets, for the first time.

In doing so, retailers can prevent message overload, and deliver only what their customers will want and actually engage with, driving engagement growth, and providing personalisation on a massive scale.

IBM with its partners brings personalised customer relationships to everyone.

Managing ‘micro-moments’ and other retail trends with IBM

Businesses may have the products customers want, but do they have the agility to get them in front of customers at the right time? As retail increasingly moves from being a planned, discrete activity for shoppers, into one that occurs when and where the mood strikes, retailers need to keep up.

IBM’s Research Insights paper ‘Meet the 2020 consumers driving change’, explores the changing nature of retail, and how businesses can best adapt to ensure they don’t get left behind.