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In my opinion: retailers must embrace disruption in 2015, says Mindtree

Anil Gandharve, general manager for retail, CPG and manufacturing industry at Mindtree, urges businesses to embrace disruption in 2015 in order to succeed

Looking back on 2014, we see the year was marked by a great deal of disruption at the hands of shoppers. The now near ubiquity of smartphones and connected tablets has made their transformation into “phy-gital” shoppers complete. They expect the best, and they will cover a broad range of touch points to get it.

In the summer of 2014, Mindtree conducted a large survey of 620 shoppers in the UK, to try to better understand what was driving their disruption of the retail industry. The results made clear that phy-gital is now the norm, with 70% of UK shoppers saying they combine online and in-store experiences in whatever way is most convenient or efficient for them. As for the driving purpose behind their disruption, two primary factors emerged: they want the shopping experience to be rich with information, yet easy and devoid of the friction that often exists today.

As retailers play catch-up, there are different ways they can embrace disruption in order to deliver on these two measures. They can either look to technology and data to drive growth, or they can re-evaluate the way they approach and plan new products and promotions. However, one of my personal favourites is the powerful and symbiotic growth that can come from smart use of Indoor Positioning System (IPS) technology.

IPS is controversial because shoppers, as well as the mass media, already find retailers’ tracking and targeting of individuals to be, for lack of a better word, “creepy”. But one of the things our survey discovered is that consumers are very much willing to share personal information in order to get an enhanced shopping experience.