Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 29

DISRUPTION AHEAD
In retail or any other sector, organizations need to stay atop of what Gartner calls
strategic technology trends. That's technology with substantial disruptive potential,
which has a high degree of volatility but is having a wider impact with tipping points
over the next five years. Among Gartner's picks for the biggest bangs in 2018:
AI. Systems that learn, adapt and potentially act autonomously to enhance decisionmaking, reinvent business and remake the customer experience.
Digital twin. A digital representation of a real-world entity or system, used to collect
and visualize the data, apply analytics and rules, and respond to business objectives.
Conversational platforms. These take a question or command from the user and
execute a function, present content or ask for more input. Gartner calls it "the next
paradigm shift in how humans interact with the digital world."
Immersive experiences. Virtual, augmented and mixed reality-from head-mounted
displays to smartphone-based AR-are changing how we perceive and interact with
the digital world. Some current applications fall under the novelty category, but
these technologies promise to engage customers, boost employee productivity and
enhance design.

Retail challenge: Avoid falling behind your competitors.
Solution: Think big, start small, scale fast.
TO Sonia Boisvert, Retail and Consumer Leader at PwC, just about every technology
solution in retail relates in some way to one or more of convenience, price, speed or
variety. Get that combination right, and you'll succeed in the market.
That applies to customer-facing and back office functions alike. Think of areas like
dynamic pricing with real-time adjustments. Faster fulfillment. AI for logistics to forecast consumer demand and optimize inventory. Effortless digital interactions. Next-gen
signage. Warehouses that more fully automate picking, packing sorting and shipping.
The list is endless. Retailers should be disruptive with technology, says Boisvert,
but there are a couple of big challenges.
One is figuring out how technology fits with your strategy, not the other way
around. It's tempting to want to play with the new toy. If you just copy what others
are doing on the technology front, you'll be behind.
Two, once you know your strategy, "you need to be fast and flexible," says Boisvert.
That's where many retailers fall short, says Jim Carroll, a futurist and trends and
innovation expert. Agile development is a philosophy in the IT world, and it has to
enter the boardroom too, he says. That's a leadership quality.
He mentions the Gartner Hype Cycle (from the research/advisory firm). When it
comes to embracing technology, there are phases: 1) potential breakthrough (innovation trigger); 2) early success stories and sometimes failures (peak of inflated expectations); 3) interest wanes as implementations don't deliver (trough of disillusionment);
4) crystalize how the technology can benefit the enterprise (slope of enlightenment);
and 5) mainstream adoption starts to take off (plateau of productivity).
Should you make an early move? Wait? There's a point where you can wait too
long, says Carroll. Think of how many retailers were taken by surprise by Amazon's
impact, he says, even though it hardly happened overnight. With any technology
project, Carroll sees a trend to "think big, start small, scale fast."
You need to be structured for speed, he advises, meaning deploy technology, learn
from your experiences, and be prepared to run if you think it will go supernova.
"Don't be caught flatfooted," he says. It happens when organizations are afraid of risk
or change. There's no luxury for that thinking. Not when retail faces a flood of technology,
from in-store GPS to click-and-collect models to drones. A trend that transcends all innovations in 2018 and beyond: position yourself, says Carroll, to "ingest new tech faster."

www.retailcouncil.org/cdnretailer

THE TECHNOLOGY & E-COMMERCE ISSUE

6

Fit technology solutions into
your business strategy, not
the other way around.

| CANADIAN RETAILER | 2 9


http://www.retailcouncil.org/cdnretailer

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue

Editor’s Note
Retail Currents
Under the Banner
At Issue
Preparing for Tomorrow Today
Retail 2018: What the Future Has in Store
Living in the Future
Getting Results
Selling Across Borders
Don’t “wannacry” Anymore About Cybercrime?
How Can Technology Solve the Biggest Retail Challenges?
Channel Loyalty
Content Is King
Delivering Your Brand to the World
Small Business. Big Impact.
Leading Retailers in Canada
Advertisers’ Index
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - Intro
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - bellyband1
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - bellyband2
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - cover1
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - cover2
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 3
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - Editor’s Note
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 5
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - Retail Currents
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 7
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - Under the Banner
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - At Issue
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - Preparing for Tomorrow Today
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 11
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - Retail 2018: What the Future Has in Store
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 13
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 14
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 15
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 16
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 17
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - Living in the Future
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 19
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - Getting Results
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 21
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - Selling Across Borders
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 23
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - Don’t “wannacry” Anymore About Cybercrime?
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 25
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - How Can Technology Solve the Biggest Retail Challenges?
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 27
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 28
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 29
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - Channel Loyalty
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 31
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 32
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 33
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 34
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 35
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - Content Is King
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 37
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 38
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 39
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - Delivering Your Brand to the World
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 41
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - Small Business. Big Impact.
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 43
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - Leading Retailers in Canada
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 45
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - Advertisers’ Index
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - cover3
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - cover4
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 52
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 53
Canadian Retailer - The Technology & e-Commerce Issue - 54
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