3 Takeaways from Reflexions 2018: Winning with NextGen Stores
Amidst the narratives of “retail apocalypse” and the death of brick-and-mortar stores, Reflexions 2018 had a different narrative: optimism about the future of the store. Retailers certainly noted the challenges of retail today, how customer expectations are more complex and store associates have more than ever required of them, but they expressed a great deal of confidence as they presented insights as to how such challenges could be addressed.
Here are a few takeaways from the conference:
1. Developing a Comprehensive Technology Strategy
NextGen stores are already here. All retailers have created them, incorporating technology into their store execution and labor operations strategy. But the real question at Reflexions 2018 was how to create a powerful technology strategy that could help retailers win with NextGen stores.
Retail presenters at Reflexions 2018 spoke to how consolidating these technology systems is essential to winning with NextGen stores. It wasn’t just about using task management or workforce management; it was about implementing a single platform of real-time store operations solutions so store managers and associates only had to use one application to take care of everything. And this needed to be incorporated into a larger strategy utilizing mobile devices, advanced analytics, and cloud computing.
2. Eliminating Retail Complexity
Simplicity was a word heard throughout almost every Reflexions presentation. As retailers contended with new operating models, new lines of business, and new IT systems that face the store, simplifying store and labor operations provided relief and a way to improve the customer experience.
How did retailers simplify store and labor operations? At Reflexions 2018, retailers like Wawa and Living Spaces discussed optimizing their workforce, creating labor schedules that accurately aligned with customer traffic and sales projections. American Eagle discussed how new communication solutions from Reflexis helped shorten the time needed to complete certain tasks, simplifying the process in which these tasks are completed.
3. Creating Smarter Stores with Analytics
Analytics took center stage at Reflexions this year. Academic experts, such as Peter Duchessi from University at Albany, SUNY, presented on the benefits of using analytics solutions, and retailers showed the ROI they achieved after using analytics to gain insight into their organizations.
At Reflexions, using analytics was all about assessing where organizations need to improve. Many presentations touched on different aspects of this: Human Resources could use analytics to uncover attendance or time tracking issues, district and store managers could measure compliance across stores and search for trends, and corporate can assess trends in sales to uncover what stores are underperforming.
Reflexions 2018 was a great event for retailers, analysts, academics, and retail solution experts alike to come together and share their insights about retail. By discussing technology strategies, how analytics can be used to gain critical insights, and how to simplify store and labor operations, Reflexions attendees demonstrated how using the right tools will help retailers win with NextGen stores.