The Dutch retail market is developing rapidly: customer expectations continue to rise, margins are under pressure, labour is scarce, and ‘traditional’ business models are struggling. So how do you, as a retailer, deal with these challenges? And how do you ensure a sustainable and sustainable business model?
The demand for technological solutions is increasing as the market moves online. Something Nick van Ramshorst, retail expert and Solution Advisor at LINKIT, recognizes: “Digital transformation is no longer a buzzword, but a bold item on the agenda for every retailer.”
The corona pandemic has been an eye-opener for many companies, says Nick. “Physical stores had to close, which forced entrepreneurs to think about technological solutions. As a result, legacy systems and processes were digitized, the business model was overhauled, and a data strategy was devised. These changes have put a lot of pressure on the operation.”
A pressure that is often reinforced by the separation between IT and operations. “IT is often seen as the ‘neighbour from further away”. While an integral collaboration between IT and operations ensures a clear vision and strategy, but also new opportunities and possibilities.”
Influence of digital transformation
“There is currently a major shortage of suitable workers. By digitizing manual processes and making them more efficient, an organization becomes more agile and enables itself to respond more quickly to trends and market developments,” says Nick. “As a result, the entire distribution chain can be completed faster and at lower costs.”
However, it is not only the processes that need to be digitized. The use of data is also part of this. “Well-known retailers know exactly how to use their data to predict trends. They recognize market movements and know which channels to use at what time, where, and when to distribute, advertise, and commercialize. That makes them agile and visible to their users,” says Nick.
Stay scalable with Low-code.
Users expect a perfectly functioning mix of channels (omnichannel), where they are all tuned to each other. Nick: “In concrete terms, this means that, for example, as a customer, you end up at the provider’s webshop via a Facebook ad and easily go through the ordering process from here.”
But how do you make an app work flawlessly with old systems? How do you integrate a webshop or portal? How do you set up a dashboard, and what data do you use? “That’s where low-code comes in handy,” says Nick. “Low code helps to provide digital insight into the retailer’s data and processes. It enables them to develop modern applications – such as an app, portal, or webshop- available through various channels. This way, you immediately maintain a measurable connection with your customer.”
You gain an edge over the competition by using data smartly and efficiently, says Nick. “To grow in the competitive retail market, there is often the idea that more people are needed. However, they are difficult to find in the current labour market. Digital transformation offers the solution. By digitizing different business processes, you become agile and scalable. This way, you are less dependent on physical human resources and can anticipate faster.”
Freedom of development
As a retailer, you can no longer ignore the modernization of your organization, says Nick. “Low-code ensures that the user shell, the structure and associated algorithms keep an eye on each other. In addition, the low-code platform offers flexibility and speed because you can quickly implement changes in business applications with standard components. And speed, that is vital in retail.”
“Using low-code means you can move with changing market conditions and remain in full control. Now and in the future.”
Nick is Solution Advisor at LINKIT. He is involved in various low-code projects for organizations such as Lidl and Croonwolter&dros.