E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

IBM and the Future of Shopping

(Migrated weblog post from LSR)

I am sure that you folks will know about it already but, just in case, yesterday evening the third in the series of Podcasts was made available at the IBM Investor Relations web site. Yes, indeed, here we go again with another Podcast, and this time dedicated to the world of shopping. In IBM and the Future of Shopping you will be able to get a very good insight about the world of retail and shopping. I must say that so far this is probably the one of the whole series that I have enjoyed the most. And the main reason being how close I felt with the discussion topics mentioned throughout.

It is funny, but as you go over the podcast itself you will notice all what is mentioned makes sense. Not only from the perspective of everything that has happened so far around the world of retail but also from the perspective of what lies ahead. More and more people have got a tendency to shop online and, somehow, the differences from the traditional way of shopping are there for us to take advantages of it. There may be some disadvantages but certainly while listening through the conversations I just couldn’t help that we have got some exciting times ahead of us in this particular area. For instance, two of the comments that were shared come pretty close to one of my passions: collaboration and process change, i.e. the people.

Indeed, it looks like the main key success factor for the retail industry to survive in this century is not just a matter of providing the best technology, on the contrary, it will very much depend on how we share information in a collaborative way so that we can get the best out of the deal, as far as consumers are concerned but also at the same time that retailers would need to collaborate more with their consumers in order to be able to sell the best products. This is something we have seen over and over and over again in the Blogosphere, where more and more people are coming through and share their experiences on the products they purchase. And that new visibility is what will encourage retailers to go out and listen. Listen to their customers about what they are saying and what they want. Yes, you guessed it right as well, failure to do so will have severe consequences because information travels faster than whatever you could imagine and in most than one case it may get you in trouble. Thus collaboration is going to be key for the success of the retail industry.

On the other hand, I certainly agree with the comments as well regarding that the key success factor will be related to the process change, and not just the technology. Retailers would need to get used to the new shopping habits from the younger generations as they will be the ones that will shape up the retail industry of the near future. So if those processes do not change soon enough, they would become obsolete and consumers will just move on elsewhere. That flexibility of changing processes on the fly is going to become crucial for the survival of the industry. Yes, indeed, exciting times are ahead of us and something tells me that we are bound to go into a wild ride over the next few years. Time will tell, but you can already taste it with the IBM and The Future of Shopping podcast.

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