The challenge for traditional retailers is this: can the likes of Walmart, Coles and Woolworths master new digital skills faster than the digital natives can learn to become effective store retailers? Unless companies with large networks of stores solve this challenge, the likes of Amazon and Alibaba may one day dominate store retail as completely as they dominate e-commerce five years ago, I left corporate life to start my own consulting firm. I have loved this way of working and have relished the opportunity to help some great clients master different aspects of their e-commerce operations. It has also allowed me to achieve a long-held ambition to write my first book, Retail’s Last Mile.
A few weeks ago, I put Jonathan Reeve Consulting into hibernation and joined Eagle Eye. I had intended to continue consulting until retirement, but the opportunity to bring Eagle Eye to Australia and New Zealand was too exciting to refuse. Eagle Eye’s software platform, AIR, helps omnichannel retailers create winning stores in a digital world. Unless companies with large networks of stores solve this challenge, the likes of Amazon and Alibaba may one day dominate store retail as completely as they dominate e-commerce today.
To understand the challenge facing established retailers with stores, consider the matrix below, which looks at two key building blocks of retail success in a digital world:
Ability to master traditional retail skills such as merchandising, marketing, supply chain etc.
Ability to master emerging digital skills, such as personalisation, artificial intelligence, robotics etc.
Skills needed by traditional retailers and digital challengers
Framed in this way, the challenge for traditional retailers is this: can the likes of Walmart, Coles and Woolworths master these new digital skills faster than the digital natives can learn to become effective store retailers? When Eagle Eye CEO, Tim Mason, recently posed that question to audiences in Australia and New Zealand, the majority backed Amazon to win. At Eagle Eye, we’re not so sure, probably because many of us were previously store retailers and know how tough it is to build a successful proposition in categories like meat, produce and bakery. Amazon’s ten-year struggles with AmazonFresh (before it acquired Whole Foods) illustrate the difficulty of mastering store retail, even for well-funded digital players.
Eagle Eye is an exciting place to be right now because it has world-leading technology that helps store retailers compete on a level playing field with the likes of Amazon. The platform enables a digital connection to every customer walking into the store. It’s something Eagle Eye’s founder, Steve Rothwell, describes as a “cookie for the real world”. The e-commerce pure-plays take a digital connection with every customer for granted. In fact, in Amazon’s grocery format, Amazon Go, it is a condition of entry that customers shop using its App. In comparison, many retailers with stores may not even know the names of their most loyal customers.
So exciting times ahead for retail and Eagle Eye. We’re already a strategic digital partner for the likes of Diageo, John Lewis, Loblaw, Marks & Spencer, Mitchells and Butlers, PizzaExpress, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.
With nearly three decades of experience, Jonathan is a seasoned expert in the retail industry, collaborating with retailers worldwide to ensure they remain at the forefront of digital innovation. After successfully operating his own consulting business for five years and authoring the influential book, "Retail's Last Mile: Why Online Shopping Will Exceed Our Wildest Predictions", Jonathan is now the Vice President for the Asia Pacific region at Eagle Eye, a SaaS technology company transforming marketing through real-time personalised performance marketing. In this role, he helps APAC businesses develop and implement world-leading digital marketing programs that drive customer acquisition, interaction and retention.
Get the latest insights, research and news delivered straight to your inbox.
Plus, enter to win the 2nd edition of Omnichannel Retail by Tim Mason & Sarah Jarvis!