JDA Software vice-president of retail industry strategies JoAnn Martin looks at new research that explains how disruptive retailers are shaping the future of the industry.

We all know that retail is evolving. The signs are clear in the headlines about new technologies, changes in customer sentiment and the struggles once-dominant brands are facing in today’s marketplace.

Yet some retailers stand out from the crowd with fresh approaches, winning customer loyalty even as they shake up traditional ways of delivering products and engaging with shoppers.

JDA partnered with Retail Systems Research (RSR) to discover what makes these disruptors unique.

By surveying more than 100 c-suite executives and senior leadership at both disruptive and non-disruptive retailers, JDA and RSR uncovered insights that can help retailers survive and thrive in the years ahead.

“25% of disruptors offer seamless shopping experiences across all channels, compared with only 13% of non-disruptors”

Surprising facts about disruptive retailers

The stereotypical view of a disruptive firm is that it might look like a hot start-up; burning through capital, investing in new technologies at random, or ignoring bricks-and-mortar retail and operating exclusively in ecommerce channels.

But results from the 2018 Retail Disruptors Survey have dispelled some myths about these game-changing companies:

  • Many retail disruptors have stores and they invest strategically in technology that they believe will give them an edge.
  • Disruptive retailers are more willing to sacrifice growth in order to achieve the kinds of customer experiences that shoppers expect; doing so requires the right blend of human observations and data-driven insights, leveraging new technologies such as machine learning.
  • Retail disruptors focus on using technology to improve customer experience; 25% of disruptors offer seamless shopping experiences across all channels, compared with only 13% of non-disruptors.

And these companies’ bottom lines show the results of their decisions; 66% of disruptors say they are profitable right now, while 28% say they will be profitable in the next 18 months.

These attitudes could make the difference between retailers that know enough to keep up with what their customers expect and those that fail to adapt, becoming less relevant with the passage of time.

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Using technology to gain competitive advantage

In a turbulent market, retail disruptors realise that technology provides a strategic edge.

Rather than just a cost to be managed, technology is crucial to the success of retailers in today’s world.

And, while we can’t know exactly how retail will look in the years ahead, retail disruptors know that the customer has to be at the heart of every decision – and that technology provides a necessary competitive advantage.

Download the survey findings report for full insights from the 2018 Retail Disruptors Survey.

Jo ann martin jda

JoAnn Martin, vice-president of retail industry strategies, JDA Software

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