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Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Evans are only the icing on the cake

Chris Field
Chris Field

We need to stop spending all our time talking about the future.

It’s lovely of course to dream about how wonderful everything will be for retail, once all channels are singing off the same stock, order and customer sheet. And once retailers’ knowledge of customers is so deep that they can fulfil their every desire before they’ve even had it. And once the supply chain is effectively managing stock straight into customers’ living rooms.

But that is not going to happen any time soon. It’s a journey, we know, but we need to focus more on that than the destination. The retailers demand it; they are inundated by requests for meetings to talk with vendors about the future and listen to everyone’s great thoughts about how much better everything could be.

And I appreciate the urgency; Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Evans are just the ones at the bottom of a long list of retailers that are not even delivering on the basics during peak or indeed at any time. they have long page load speeds, broken links, clunky payment processes, unresponsive call centres and so on. It’s as if most of the components work fine, just not together, so the dream of omnichannel commerce have not become a reality.

So what’s the answer?

In my opinion, vendors and retailers both need to change the way they engage, communicate and plan.

They don’t have shared goals at the moment and that means too many systems are being built that don’t deliver on day one, but are hard to shift once everyone realises they are not fit for purpose. The processes that enable these systems, and empower the people who operate them, are either poorly defined or not defined at all. And we are still searching for a single view of the truth. Like religious sects, we are all putting our own narrow interests in the way of seeing the one true God, and then fighting over whose view is correct. And when it gets religious, it gets bitter and twisted and impossible to change.

Retailers and vendors who need to sort it out because no one else can or will. And that’s why we are putting our money where our mouth is and are developing a retail panel, in conjunction with Validify, who will road test new tech before it hits the market.

It’s not the whole answer by any means, but it will enable both sides to develop solutions based on a shared understanding of the objectives.

We are recruiting now, so if you hold a senior position in retail, we’d be delighted if you would join us. You’ll be in good company. And that’s a future I am happy to shout about.
If you are a senior retail professional that would like to join our tech test panel, drop me an email.

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