The digital hamster wheel often turns too fast!
...or why numerous processes in retail cannot be digitized.
A critical look at generational differences and their enthusiasm for digitization!
Everyone has been talking about it for years. It must be digitized, automated, and optimized. This is the only way for retail to have a secure future. The opportunity to relax is not in sight, because since the pandemic almost every company, every brick-and-mortar retail business had to invest in their virtual (online) business. In addition, external sales marketplaces (e.g., Amazon.com, eBay, Etsy, Galaxus) are still popping up like mushrooms. These must be integrated into existing internal processes to be able to benefit from these channels as well. The shortage of available workforce doesn't really help, especially in the IT sector.
We all know the problem of the hamster wheel. Once the hamster really gets going, there's no stopping the wheel until the hamster can't run anymore. What can you do about it? Get external help? But from whom? Consultants, project managers, programmers, or maybe just use an “off the cloud” based solution?
The Generation X
Observations from the past two years indicate that numerous companies still rely heavily on Generation X (Term by Douglas Coupland), when it comes to digitization in the enterprise. As we all know, this is the generation born before the introduction of the Internet, which thought it was pushing technology boundaries when it started sending e-mails. Of course, they use the Internet and shop online, but when it comes to making decisions, according to Coupland, they like to rely on the familiar and proven approaches. That's where Generation Y could help in many companies, as they find using all available digital channels just as helpful and logical as using cloud-based business software.
Why make it complicated when it can be easy?
Right there, we're back on the hamster wheel. How often do you hear from retail decision makers: "Yes, we are already interested, it's just that currently we have too many open projects and no time, plus our staff is already at capacity".
Of course, Generation X stands for success in every company and you need the know-how of this generation. But when it comes to digitization, they are quick to contribute but often don’t suggest using existing standard software that can be implemented quickly. It is preferable to rely on known and proven solution approaches. These are individually adapted, extended, and implemented in multiple steps and projects, under the direction of internal IT. Until the hamster falls out of the wheel.
Therefore, in these fast-moving times, it is recommended not to push for an individual solution for every process, but rather to use what is already available in the market, as exemplified by Generations Y and Z. Solutions that help to digitize faster, relieve specialists of routine work and benefit from the fact that modern cloud software always remains state of the art. In most use cases, these solutions fulfil the main task more efficiently than individual bespoke developments.
Of course, we speak from the perspective and with the experience of a solution provider. We believe in the principle that the professional does it best:
> The retailer who serves his customers optimally across all channels with the best products.
> The Abrantix, that can help retailers optimize and digitize with payment software and reconciliation solutions.
Control is good, but trust is better in this case!
From a baby boomer's point of view, the recommendation to retailers can therefore only be: Allow Generation Y and Z to have a say in possible digitization steps in the company. And trust that with the wealth of knowledge and experience passed on from Generation X, the digitization-friendly generations can ensure that the hamster wheel turns at the right speed.