Shaking up the retail industry in Australia and beyond

by | Mar 21, 2013 | Omnichannel, Retailers

I was recently in our Hong Kong office, and I have to admit something awful: I spread a message. The message was not important, it was not vital, it was not even retail or business related. It was the Harlem Shake.

If you have not seen the Internet craze of the Harlem Shake, allow me to explain. It is a very short 30 second video using the same song each time. The first half of the video starts with a masked dancer who is unfamiliar in what looks to be a familiar situation for everyone else in the room. This masked dancer jumps up and down and dances like he has ants in his pants, but the rest of the field doesn’t even take notice. In fact, it is like he is not even there. Then you wait for the “drop.” The bass gets added to the music and in the blink of an eye the scene goes haywire. People are on tables, wearing every manner of costume, dancing wildly in every direction for the remaining half of the song. To me this is the perfect metaphor for disruption.

Imagine an enterprise cloud company enters a deeply entrenched software market. They dance around wildly with all manner of colorful marketing, but the market doesn’t seem to take any notice. In fact, for the first half of the song and dance companies continue to go about their normal business. Then something drops and what were traditional software consumers a second a go suddenly look just like the masked dancer. Most companies not only adopt the practices of our masked enterprise cloud company, but they make it their own and often overshadow the original dancer. The only thing that could look strange in the new scene is a company not taking on new characteristics.

I see this repeatedly in Australia’s retail markets.

Retailers have been educated for years to house all of their EDI services in house. They feel they need to control everything and, besides their core business, they feel they need to be experts in communication with their trading partner network as well. This is perpetuated by a closed loop job market where managers and those with experience in EDI systems jump from one company to the next and simply duplicate what was done at another retailer. The trouble is, as your business grows so too does your need to manage an expanding network. You are now effectively trying to hold on to two business models: the one that makes you money and the one that makes you crazy trying to trade with the companies that give you your products.

SPS Commerce brings the “drop” by allowing trading partners to shed their old ways of keeping the software in house and push the service, support, enablement and maintenance to the cloud. There is no need for a wine supplier in Western Australia to Trader Joes to be dependent on software installs and maintaining an IT staff. There is no need for a shoe manufacturer for Adidas to develop a library of retailer specifications and keep them up to date. Beauty product retailers know every skin type is different and likewise shouldn’t lock their suppliers into single usage portal system that is difficult to maintain.

These concepts are new to Australia and will take a bit of getting used to. SPS Commerce leverages our 1-to-Infinity approach not just for Australia, but for all retailers and their trading partner communities worldwide. Let us connect you to every trading partner you have or ever will have and come “shake” up the market with us.

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SPS Commerce Blog Team