Hectic attempts to pursue every trending technology won’t get you far. In this article, five top professionals from commercetools, Pimcore, Akeneo, Findologic, and Voucherify share their take on how to build a reasonable long-term tech strategy. They show us what to invest in to make the tech stack future-proof.
It’s the fourth and final article that concludes our “5 experts about the future of retail in eCommerce” series. If you want to see our experts’ answers to the other questions exploring the future of retail, check out the previous articles:
- How different will retail be in 2032?
- What will be the biggest challenge for retail within the next decade?
- What are retailers missing out on now that will impact the industry's future?
Here’s what retail companies should invest in to stay ahead of the curve.
"Commerce innovation shows no sign of slowing down and nothing is predictable in our world anymore. These two factors make it critical for retailers to have the agility and flexibility to continually evolve commerce experiences to safeguard customer loyalty and retain a competitive edge.
“Only composable commerce solutions offer a channel-, vendor-, and programming-agnostic environment that makes adding or updating features and swapping out components on the fly easy and risk free, ensuring retailers can experiment and fail fast. Another benefit is you can get it up and running quickly, start recognizing results, and build incrementally. Not only will transitioning to composable commerce help you better navigate the factors impacting commerce today, but it will also ensure you’re prepared for 2032, regardless of what retail looks like at that point in time.”
Anthony Meir, Global Go-to-Market Strategist at commercetools
"As the article series concludes, the following three pillars are of utmost importance: (Customer) experience, insight, and change. Retail companies should invest in digital solutions to gain the full advantage of these three pillars. Sustainable results are reached by focusing on extensive product information management, a well-maintained customer data platform, and a unique shopping experience. Countless best-in-class solutions exist in their discipline. However, only a few companies are consolidating all the relevant features you need into one platform. An all-in-one solution retains the ability to offer you seamless integration, which runs visibly smoother for the sake of a convenient shopping experience.”
Dietmar Rietsch, CEO at Pimcore
"Besides enhanced customer data analytics, omnichannel retail should be the next point on every retailer’s to-do list. By investing in technologies that can be quickly customized for individual touchpoints and channels, retailers will ensure their shoppers have access to an effortless one-stop shopping journey across all of their preferred touchpoints. The last important step are reward programs that not only encourage shoppers to make repeat purchases but also serve as an invaluable source of customer data, a scarce good in the fast-approaching cookieless world.”
Tomasz Pindel, Co-founder, CEO at Voucherify
"Merchants could be investing in a number of things, but the first priority should be in their customers. Reviews, UGC, and loyalty programs and in addition to that, in a relevant tech stack that drives the best user experience for shoppers and seamlessly works together, like headless architecture. What this will enable them to do is implement new technologies, functionality, or capabilities as they emerge in the market without the need to take their whole infrastructure apart and start again or be limited to what they can do.
“The flexibility will help merchants be able to overcome unforeseen circumstances like we’ve seen the past few years or allow them to take advantage of any shifts in the market.”
Brian Graydon, Partner & Alliances Director at Findologic
"Personally, I am convinced that companies need to invest in a compatible and highly flexible infrastructure in order to stay ahead of the times and optimize their processes if needed. We can't predict the future, and we can't anticipate economic changes, but with a strong and flexible infrastructure, companies can respond to new developments. Companies also need to be able to identify trends at an early stage so that they can take them into account in their own planning. Therefore, the mindset and willingness to look at the technologies and behaviors of one's own customers also plays a major role in the future viability of one's own company.”
Stephan Bütterhoff, Channel Director in Central & Eastern Europe at Akeneo
The future may come quicker than one might expect
To say that the one constant is change might be a cliché, but there’s no way to pinpoint a precise solution for the next 10 years in retail. All of the quoted experts stand for staying open-minded, keeping businesses agile, and always looking for flexible solutions that’ll allow you to adapt to the market.
The ways to achieve that agility differs from one expert to another. Some recommend a channel-, vendor-, and programming-agnostic environment in the form of composable commerce. Others move the focus from the tech itself to constant adaptation in order to deliver the best customer experience.
There seems to be general consensus that omnichannel retail is the future, and in this new future, we have to fight for invaluable customer data. One of the ways to apply new analytics is to build loyalty programs. They don’t just give us insights into the customers' actions but also enhance customer experience. With the new data and privacy regulations getting more strict over the years, the entrepreneurs staying with the old tech might get caught with one hand in the cookie jar (pun intended).
Flexibility is the key to adapt and overcome whatever the future holds. It’s the golden grail of modern retail business. To achieve that, you have to understand what’s happening in the market and analyze it in your business’ context. When you consider what to invest in, pick a solution that will give you more options in the future. It’ll save you from limits imposed by legacy tech.
This article is the final part of our “5 experts about the future of retail in eCommerce” series. If you’re looking for new insights on eCommerce and retail, sign up for our newsletter to stay in touch.
Published March 7, 2023