Examples of recent references in the sector:

Key Issues :

Structurally in perpetual motion, the retail sector has, over the last ten years or so, with the economic crisis and the advent of digital, been subject to upheavals in its business models.

The sector faces a number of challenges:

  • The challenge of customer knowledge. Consumers have become more risk-averse and opportunistic in all markets, making them harder to target. What’s more, the e-commerce channel and the multiplication of intermediaries (e.g. online sales sites specializing in promotions) have distanced customers from brands. The implementation of cross-channel customer relationship management processes should enable us to maintain this connection with consumers, while data collection and processing should become the basis for even greater customer intimacy than before.
  • The purchasing challenge. E-commerce and mobile commerce have transformed consumer habits. Consumers now expect a “seamless” customer experience, where a product spotted on the Internet is tried out in-store, and a product identified in-store is bought online (so they don’t have to carry it home). The advent of mobile and geolocated internet represents an unprecedented source of opportunities (for example, by enabling sales advisors to “recognize” customers who have just returned home, and to keep track of their most recent shopping baskets). Brands need to take advantage of these opportunities to provide simplicity and speed.
  • The challenge of online brand image and customer relations. The Internet is as much about information as it is about consumption. In the age of the multitude, consumers expect direct, responsive and individualized customer relations, while relying on their peers (social networks, blogs, etc.) to form their opinions. The sector must now combine traditional communication with a presence on social networks, with their subtle and changing codes, bringing both risks and opportunities. This direct communication enables us to meet one of the major expectations of consumers at the beginning of this century: transparency.

In every field, information systems are more than ever the indispensable allies of personalized customer relations.