This Groundhog Day, don’t get spooked by a tech venture’s ‘shadow’

Groundhog Day

Retailers shouldn’t get scared off by revolutionary know-how.

Retailers usually hesitate to implement new options attributable to fears over lingering complexities.

It’s the time of yr we have fun Groundhog Day, when the groundhog pops out of his gap and predicts how for much longer winter will final, primarily based on whether or not he’s scared again to his den by the sight of his shadow. Retailers are sometimes frightened away from new applied sciences by perceived “shadows” their deployment casts.

Actually, no know-how ought to ever be carried out and not using a thorough assessment to make sure it correctly suits a retailer’s particular strategic wants and can produce some form of ROI. However retailers must also keep away from letting any of the next shadows nix an in any other case promising know-how venture.


One shadow forged by new know-how implementations is the necessity for personalization and integration. Even essentially the most vanilla enterprise platform or cloud-based turnkey resolution would require some quantity of tuning and modification to cohesively match a selected retailer’s structure.

Thankfully, customization is a a lot less complicated course of than it was once. The proliferation of cloud-based system signifies that options may be simply tailored, modified, scaled or up to date on an as-needed foundation, usually remotely by the internet hosting know-how supplier.

A proliferation of APIs that seamlessly join disparate applied sciences additionally eases many customization eventualities, and the flexibility of generative AI to routinely write code can be a possible assist to adapting options for a specific atmosphere.

Even for options requiring important customization, most know-how suppliers preserve a roster of licensed integration companions which have the experience to deal with the heavy lifting concerned in ensuring an software works correctly inside a given framework.


It’s no secret that almost all retail organizations wouldn’t have a considerable amount of time, personnel or funding accessible to dedicate to coaching workers on find out how to use new know-how options. That is very true for purposes that might be utilized by frontline employees, who usually have turnover charges approaching 100%.

Nevertheless, evolution in know-how has additionally produced development within the sources accessible for know-how coaching. Many frontline worker options at the moment are delivered by intuitive apps, with coaching supplied through the identical interface.

And for extra advanced office options, the emergence of videoconferencing and digital actuality applied sciences has largely eradicated the necessity to bodily carry workers collectively for in-person coaching classes. One instance is VR-based coaching Walmart has performed utilizing Oculus Rift and Oculus Go headsets.


Retail is traditionally one thing of a laggard business relating to adopting new applied sciences, though that pattern has been shifting lately as extra digital natives be a part of the workforce and society generally turns into extra accepting of modern know-how, with generative AI as a chief instance. However retailers nonetheless usually retain hesitancy to be among the many first customers of a brand new resolution.

As said earlier, no retailer ought to ever implement an answer just because it’s new or stylish. However they need to additionally not routinely decline to be an early adopter of a know-how that matches into their bigger enterprise operation.

You probably have met me in particular person, you probably have heard the anecdote I’m about to share and I apologize for repeating it. Within the early 2000s, I spoke with the chief merchandising officer of a profitable regional attire retailer who had little interest in the then-new class of algorithm-based pricing and markdown optimization options beginning to take maintain in retail.

“Why do I would like a pc to inform me what to cost for a product?” he scoffed. “If it doesn’t promote, I minimize the value. If it nonetheless doesn’t promote, I decrease it once more.” 

That chain, which had operated profitably for over 50 years, was passed by 2005. Generally the pioneers reap the rewards.

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