As NRF approaches, retailers need to recognize three key facts about the retail environment that will determine their success or failure in 2020.

It’s appropriate that NRF, Retail’s Big Show, is scheduled for early January. The dawn of a new year is the perfect time to take stock of the past year’s results — and create a plan for even better results in the next 12 months.

As a partner to 75 of the top 100 retailers, JDA has a unique perspective on the retail environment as we head into 2020. From JDA’s perspective, there are three keys to success for retailers in the next year. If retailers can recognize these key facts about the retail landscape, and strategize accordingly, they will look back on 2020 as a success:

  1. “The customer is king” is more than just a catchphrase. More than ever, retail customers have incredible power — because they have an incredible number of purchasing options. The retailers who will win their loyalty in 2020 are those who understand and meet the needs of individual shoppers, adopt customized pricing and service strategies, and execute flawlessly. This means an increased application of shopper data to enable personalization on a massive scale, along with the ability to implement all those offers automatically.
  2. “Good enough” is no longer enough. Advanced technologies have enabled most retailers to achieve a decent level of performance in defining assortments, creating space plans, and keeping shelves stocked. But these “bare minimum” capabilities won’t be enough in the new year. True retail leaders will be leveraging artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and other emerging capabilities to truly surprise and delight consumers. They will go beyond merely meeting expectations to exceeding them.
  3. Data is the new engine of success. Every retailer has access to the same kinds of internal data about shoppers’ transactions, behavior and preferences — as well as third-party data about industry trends, social media influences, local events and long-range weather forecasts. What will separate the winners from the losers in 2020 is how retailers choose to apply this data. The winners will be cleansing the data, separating the trivial from the strategically valuable, applying advanced analytics and using the resulting insights to fuel supply chain autonomy via AI and ML.

The Future is Autonomous

You may have noticed that I just mentioned autonomy multiple times. That’s because it represents the single most important capability retailers need to succeed in 2020’s complex competitive landscape. Winning customers’ loyalty, exceeding their expectations and leveraging data successfully — all of these depend on an increasing use of autonomous decision making, fueled by AI and ML.

These emerging technologies are making the end-to-end retail supply chain self-learning and self-healing, able to predict disruptions in real time with little to no human intervention. Assortment planning, pricing, replenishment, order fulfillment, delivery — all these activities and more can be automated and accelerated simply by gathering and applying real-time data for autonomous decision making. Smart control towers with end-to-end visibility can sense disruptions before they happen and ensure the right response lever is pulled automatically, with the effects cascading across the end-to-end supply chain.

These concepts may sound like science fiction, but today autonomy, AI and ML are within easy reach of every retailer. Backed by more than 4000 customer engagements and armed with proven best practices from the world’s leading retailers, JDA is uniquely positioned to help. By dynamically connecting all your end-to-end systems and capabilities via JDA’s Platform, you can achieve the vision, intelligence and responsiveness you need to succeed in 2020 — and beyond. Make this the year you begin the journey toward true supply chain autonomy.

Want to learn more? Visit JDA Software at Booth #4237 at NRF, Retail’s Big Show, held in New York City January-11-14. Get a preview of JDA’s special events at NRF here.