As the worldwide socioeconomic situation changes rapidly, so do the new trends in the retail industry. How can retailers prepare themselves for the future of retail while driving innovation at speed and scale? Not all retailers are equally responsive to change. Retailers such as Walmart, Kroger, and Walgreens are leading the way for “commerce everywhere” business models, investing in the essential capabilities of a retail commerce platform and in innovative technologies. According to IDC’s 2020 Global Retail Innovation Survey, building a platform for innovation remains the top challenge for innovation strategy–laggard retailers. Around 64% of retailers globally plan to implement retail commerce platforms over the next 12 to 24 months.
Worldwide Retail Commerce Platform Software Providers 2020 Vendor Assessment (IDC #US46038320, November 2020) assesses the capabilities and strategies of leading enterprise software vendors in serving the specific needs of retail companies worldwide across industry segments (food and nonfood retail). This IDC Retail Insights study evaluates nine vendors: Adobe, Aptos, Fujitsu, HCL, Microsoft, NCR, Oracle, Salesforce, and SAP.
IDC predicts that, by 2021, 80% of retailers will have implemented a retail commerce platform, with 35% of them achieving a more than 10% improvement in customer experience metrics, such as CSAT and NPS. Due to the unprecedented times of change, retailers have accelerated their target investments to execute innovation and better serve customers and consumers by leveraging retail commerce platforms’ capabilities and services. The retail commerce platform is built on customer experience services, commerce services, content management services, order fulfillment services, and integration services — underpinned by an artificial intelligence foundation. In the next normal, it is critical that retailers collaborate with valued partners to tackle their current challenges and achieve their digital road map goals.
Based on the assessment of retail commerce platform vendor offerings, the IDC MarketScape highlights the following key aspects:
- Retail innovation. The retail commerce platform is an essential enabler of innovation, as it enables retailers to pilot, implement, and scale innovation at speed.
- Commerce everywhere. Commerce everywhere business models involve relational and operational retail processes that rely on the streamed collection and enablement of internal and ecosystem data.
- Microservices approach. Over the past couple of years, large retailers have started to move toward microservices-based retail commerce platforms to become more agile and achieve the flexibility to rapidly deploy new services and capabilities, following a best-of-breed approach.
- Artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) analytics foundations. The implementation of a retail commerce platform will rely on a solid core combined with a best-of-breed approach; it will primarily leverage AI/ML analytics foundations.