Leading the Charge in Retail Innovation

The vision for unlocking retail innovation through composable commerce

PMC’s Chief Commercial Officer, Simon Curtis, shares his vision for unlocking retail innovation through composable commerce.

In the dynamic and constantly changing world of retail, innovation is the lifeblood that keeps businesses competitive, resilient and relevant in the face of change.

Retailers and vendors alike recognise that consumer expectations are constantly shifting. It’s this that compels us to push not just for continuous improvement, but for a more profound shift and accelerated transformation.

This aspiration for excellence motivates retailers to experiment with new architectures and to seek out multi-platform, multi-vendor solutions. Vendors, in turn, are investing heavily in development to provide the solutions that retailers need to stay competitive.

The importance of collaboration 

Collaboration is emerging as a cornerstone of success in the retail technology space. Retailers and technology vendors are increasingly working hand-in-hand to design and implement solutions that address specific pain points and goals.

Effective collaboration means retailers can take a hands-on approach to shaping technology solutions that meet their unique needs, while vendors can refine their offerings based on real-world feedback. 

So it’s a win-win. 

By working collaboratively, we can create experiences that truly resonate with customers and elevate the retail journey.

Is composable architecture the future?

In a world of escalating complexity and a multitude of channels and platforms, composable architecture is emerging as a critical technology paradigm. 

Composable commerce allows retailers to select and integrate best-in-class components that suit their specific needs, promoting agility and adaptability.

This modular approach enables retailers to seamlessly integrate multiple systems, apps and platforms and processes, whether for e-commerce, in-store operations, or channel integrations. Composable architecture simplifies integration and fosters collaboration, ensuring that the retail technology solutions remain flexible, scalable and future proof.

Rising to the challenge

Retailers have long subscribed to the idea that multiple sales channels are better for business, and today we see many retailers doing just that – Primark, a high street giant, has recently launched a UK-wide click and collect service to enhance their in-person retailing experience. We also see that top ecommerce brands such as ASOS, Boohoo and Shein have started launching pop-up stores across the UK.

The practicalities of adding another sales channel to your existing multichannel system can be far from simple though. Retailers must address a crucial question before adopting a new multi-channel selling approach: Can they meet the high level of service their customers now expect on this new channel?

At PMC, our ambition is to become the leading technology service provider to the retail industry. To help achieve this goal we have invested in our own commerce platform, Graphene. With this platform we are producing fast results for our clients by rapidly delivering new solutions, leveraging existing systems and deploying new capabilities.

Graphene is flexible and scalable. It's designed to seamlessly integrate with a variety of platforms and vendors, allowing retailers to create a unified and consistent shopping experience for their customers, regardless of the channels they use. This ensures that retailers can maintain a competitive edge and meet consumers on their own terms.

What does success look like?

For the retailers embracing composable commerce, success extends beyond revenue growth.

In the example of Primark, their click-and-collect solution has enabled smaller stores to offer a broader range of products through online orders. In turn, this has enabled them to collect customer data for the first time. By integrating this data into a new CRM system, they are better equipped to enhance future customer experiences.

IT teams can also experiment more freely with composable commerce. When integration between in store and online systems is no longer a barrier, retailers can trial new innovations, whether it’s pop-up shops, hyper personalisation, or mobile retailing.

Attracting and maintaining top tech talent is another IT win when embracing composable commerce. The digital skills gap in the UK is substantial and growing rapidly, but we know that tech-savvy professionals are drawn to organisations that embrace cutting-edge solutions and foster a culture of innovation.

Looking to the future

Composable commerce has the potential to significantly change the retail landscape. As technological infrastructure evolves, the interfaces and spaces where retailers engage with consumers will naturally transform too.

Traditional store hardware may even become obsolete, allowing stores to become experiential hubs or showrooms, enhanced by connected e-commerce capabilities. We are already seeing connected systems creating enhanced stock visibility and simplifying backroom tasks such as inventory management and stock counting.

People and direct human-to-human interactions will likely remain paramount. And, with the right digital tooling and greater transparency around a customer’s shopping habits across both physical and digital channels, composable commerce will enable staff to offer a more deeply customised experience.

One thing is clear - the power to adapt, evolve and thrive lies within the grasp of those who dare to innovate.

Simon Curtis, Chief Commerical Officer

Simon is responsible for leading PMC's Account Management, Sales and Marketing teams. He has worked extensively in the retail sector for many years, and has held several leadership roles in the retail technology industry at various organisations including TruRating, WorldPay, YESpay and ITIM. Simon brings with him a deep understanding of the retail sector and significant experience in building and leading consultative and client-centric sales, marketing, and account management teams.

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