By Paul Skeldon

Retailing used to be so simple – open a store, source products, buy one, sell one and repeat. But digital has changed all that. Here Shane Finlay, Director, Retail, SAP UK & Ireland talks us through what you need to hit sales nirvana

Back in the nineties and noughties the land-grab for retail space was all about increasing the number of stores and developing an online presence. The race to offer multi-channel retailing was on, as market leaders rushed to grab online market share and tripped over each other to innovate and increase their offering to consumers.

This led to the growth of home delivery, click and collect and third party omni-channel service providers, but these were delivered at the cost of retail margin erosion and a proliferation of IT and operational complexity.

Retailers are now facing an even tougher task in the face of sky-high consumer expectations. To meet these demands, they require technologies that are more intuitive, drive additional value and are easy to use online, offline and across all devices.

Yet our research with PwC revealed that only 50% of consumers feel they get a consistent and superior multi-channel experience from their favourite retailers. This indicates that there is much work left to be done by retailers. Consumer demand for a seamless experience across channels is driving the next revolution in business capabilities and putting increasing strain on the search for profitable omni-channel growth.

Achieving total retail nirvana

While retailers recognise the need to evolve their technology capabilities, few have plans in place to meet consumer demands. If they are to achieve the nirvana of ‘Total Retail’ – that being a fully integrated customer experience regardless of channel – they need to drive business transformation across their…