Disruptor or disrupted? Accelerate your business innovation

The business of retail is going through massive change due to the influence of disruptors like...


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These innovators have forever altered how consumers expect to shop with retailers and how retailers get their products into shoppers’ hands.

By providing a compelling mix of convenience, speed, affordability and variety, consumers now view them as the ‘new normal’. Disruptors continually broaden their services beyond their original offering. They create tiered options that incentivise customers to take advantage of new benefits. And they anticipate and then shape consumer behaviour.


They’ve done this by creating a new retail ecosystem built with a seamless combination of physical and digital channels, complemented by an array of engaging customer experiences.


For example, Amazon’s one-touch Dash Wand is a handheld device with a speaker, microphone and barcode scanner. It’s primarily designed as a grocery scanner - you can either tell it to order an item or scan a barcode to automatically add the item to your Amazon cart - but it also controls your smart home devices so you can turn on the lights, lock the doors, set the temperature and more.


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Familiar home appliances are a new focus of innovation. Samsung’s smart fridge has a large LED touchscreen that allows family members to share messages, photos and calendars, and an internal camera that lets them view the fridge’s contents and take images of products to add to shopping lists and order online.


Smart Home Device Adoption Rates

Adoption of these types of digital devices is rising quickly, with research by Accenture revealing that nearly two-thirds of consumers intend to purchase a connected home device by 2019. And with ownership of wearable technology expected to jump from an estimated 325 million in 2016 to over 830 million in 2020, disruptors are fast creating new wearable apps, QR codes and shopping carts to facilitate retail transactions and increase conversion rates.


Beacon technology - small, wireless devices that transmit Bluetooth signals to nearby smartphones - is another way bricks and mortar retailers are digitising and customising in-store experiences. When a customer walks into a store with a Bluetooth-enabled phone and the right app, the store can send an offer, discount or recommendation to the customer’s phone via the beacon. These offers can be based on past in-store purchases or what someone browsed online. And it works - research by beacon platform Swirl found that over the 2016 holiday season, beacon marketing programmes had a significant impact on driving traffic into stores, with one mall-based specialty retailer seeing a 41% increase in average basket size.


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Amazon continues to forge new ways to take its online world to the physical world. It’s latest initiative is Amazon Go, an ambitious retail concept that uses artificial intelligence (AI), sensors and other technology to create a store with no checkouts. The first store opened in Seattle this month. Customers use the Amazon Go app to enter the store, take the products they want and leave. Shortly after, Amazon charges their account and sends a receipt.


So how can retailers innovate to survive?


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The consistent theme underpinning all these bold strategies is the creation of a holistic, immersive, seamless and personalised brand experience for consumers across all channels and touchpoints.

However, the challenge for most retailers is that their systems are often in silos that have been built up organically over many years and rely on manual processes and complex dependencies. Integrating these legacy systems with modern technologies to create new customer experiences can be difficult, expensive and slow, increasing the risk of unsatisfied customers, rising costs and lost revenue.

To survive and thrive in this new retail ecosystem, you need to increase your agility in launching new customer experiences, optimising your supply chain, and adding new channels and revenue streams.

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That means you’ll need to build capabilities in three key areas:

  1. Centralise your data and transactions for one version of truth

    A unified commerce platform is your foundation for delivering innovative and holistic real-time customer experiences. It bypasses the limitations of omnichannel by linking internal channel silos and letting you easily share data and services across all areas.

    With one platform, you gain a single source of truth with real-time visibility of your customer, inventory and fulfilment data. A unified commerce architecture also simplifies integration so there’s no need for duplication and manual intervention.

  2. Connect systems to create new experiences

    A retail platform enables truly innovative customer experiences by enabling new systems to be added and frequently changed. By using APIs, you can innovate directly on the platform to create and deploy new apps, services, channels and devices. So you can act quickly, easily and more securely – all for less cost.

    You can tie together different online and offline channels to launch new services that give customers the best of both worlds, such as ‘endless aisle’ fulfilment which gives in-store customers the ability to order products - even when those items are out of stock at the store - and get them delivered to the address of their choice.

    And the best customer experiences are not provided in isolation. Infinity’s APIs are designed not only as ‘dumb’ data interfaces but also to make functionality available to other external systems. By exposing functions to third parties via APIs, you can create innovative new experiences faster and more cost effectively.

  3. Increase agility to get to market faster

    Agile methodologies involve new values, principles, practices and benefits and are key to innovation in rapidly changing environments.

    Once the domain of software development teams looking to speed up their new and updated software delivery, agile methodologies are collaborative, with cross-functional teams set up to encourage communication between business owners and IT. The agile theory and practice are spreading across organisations and being applied to strategy, leadership, operations, marketing and more.


Become a disruptor, not the disrupted


Now’s the time to develop the flexibility and agility you need to stay ahead of your consumers’ changing needs and ensure you’re one of the disruptors, not the disrupted.

To find out how Infinity can help you develop the agility to innovate, get in touch. We’re keen to chat and discuss how we can support you to build a seamless blend of physical, digital and complementary customer experiences.


The Infinity Unified Commerce Platform