The world of retail has always been highly competitive. Firms fight for easily distracted customers by running low margins and high levels of marketing spend, all while trying to balance complex and delicate supply chains. Thanks to this, innovation and new technologies are vital to surviving and turning a profit, but bring their own challenges, from changing consumer behaviour as e-commerce continues to gain traction, to respecting the right to privacy as the ability to collect data grows.
To try to understand how South African retailers are making the most of technology tools at their disposal, and where they should be investing for maximum impact, Brainstorm convened a special roundtable of experts to discuss some of the opportunities and challenges they face.
What was painted was a very mixed picture.
The driving force in retail, says Vino Govender, executive for strategy, M&A and innovation, DFA, is the consumer experience, and using IT to drive efficiencies in the value chain. In certain areas, South African stores are on par with the rest of the world, but in others, we're still catching up.
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