The current rate of technological change is unprecedented in all known history. The power of this tidal wave is reshaping practically everything, retail included. Challenged on the new digital frontier, the industry is desperately trying to figure out what the future of retail will look like.
Pressure can make people, and retailers, do strange things.
Take for example Walmart in the US. This immensely successful retail giant was feeling some heat from competitors in the online side of the retail market last year. Obviously, retail is a sector of the economy that Walmart is accustomed to dominating, so the business couldn’t sit idle and let revenue slide.
A new industry is emerging solely to repair the amateurish, yet often commercially useful software, routinely produced by academics.
The phenomenon has become so widespread that it caught the attention of The Economist, which recently published an article, titled “Of more than academic interest”, shedding light on the issue.
If opportunity makes a thief, then the internet and our increasing reliance on digital media deliver unprecedented opportunities to those with the skill and desire to break into other people’s systems.
American writer Max Ehrmann wrote the prose poem Desiderata in 1927 in which he said: “Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.” In my experience, you need not look further than the media to see plenty of the trickery Mr Ehrmann refers to.
One of the strategic questions a lot of retailers currently ask themselves is whether the future of retail IT belongs in the Cloud?